Skip to main content

Giant duck conquers Taiwan

By Hiufu Wong, CNN
September 25, 2013 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's 18-meter rubber duck is currently floating in the harbor in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan. The city's enthusiastic regard for the great bird helped it beat out dozens of other suitors who wanted a visit. Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's 18-meter rubber duck is currently floating in the harbor in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan. The city's enthusiastic regard for the great bird helped it beat out dozens of other suitors who wanted a visit.
HIDE CAPTION
Rubber duck cometh
Biggest thing in Taiwan
Adorable even at half-mast
Parting the waters
Yellow duck? More like golden duck
Donald who?
No bathtub in the world is big enough
24/7 cute fix
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's giant rubber duck tour arrives in Taiwan
  • Taiwanese team has impressed Hofman with new pumping technology that inflates duck in seven minutes
  • Exhibition expected to draw more than 3 million visitors and generate $30 million in revenue

(CNN) -- What could possibly draw 500,000 spectators to a Taiwan harbor front in the midst of typhoon Usagi threats?

A giant inflatable rubber duck, of course.

After stirring up a duck craze in Hong Kong in May and June, the 18-meter inflatable duck created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman arrived at Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan last Thursday.

Some 500,000 people showed up to see the duck within five days, including on Saturday, when officials suspended the exhibition due to the expected arrival of Usagi.

Kaohsiung City's love affair with the bird was kindled in 2009 when government officials went to see it on show in Osaka.

More: 40 Taiwanese foods we can't live without

"When we found out the rubber duck was coming to Hong Kong this year, we sent Hofman photos of Kaohsiung City and our mayor sent him a letter," said Zeno Lai, director general of the Kaohsiung Government Information Bureau and also the event's spokesperson.

"By the time we met Hofman in Hong Kong in June, he said more than 300 cities had contacted him for the next exhibition, including more than 20 cities in Taiwan," said Lai.

How Kaohsiung City won the duck's heart

And it was all yellow ... in May and June in Hong Kong, where the big duck drew more than eight million spectators.
And it was all yellow ... in May and June in Hong Kong, where the big duck drew more than eight million spectators.
Hong Kong quacking up over art display

According to Lai, Hofman was persuaded to bring his rubber duck to Kaohsiung by the city's tremendous enthusiasm for the unusual display.

Hofman has been gratified by the royal treatment he and his duck have received in Kaohsiung, said Lai.

"We understand there were minor technical issues with the duck when it was in Hong Kong and Beijing, so we tested everything at least three times," said Lai.

"We have already drafted emergency plans in case of bad weather or of harm being inflicted by visitors."

More: Fowl play? Giant rubber duck drowns in Hong Kong

The duck, which had to be assembled in Taiwan rather than floated all the way there or flown, is inflated by a new air pump made by the Kaohsiung event team.

"The rubber duck usually takes more than an hour to be inflated," said Lai. "But in Kaohsiung, it only takes seven minutes."

The team has promised to pass on its new techniques and any lessons learned to other Taiwanese cities set to receive the duck.

The yellow bird will be docked at Kaohsiung City until October 20, before floating to Taoyuan and Keelung in northern Taiwan (that's apparently not too far for a big duck to float) later this year.

The spectacle is expected to lure more than 3 million visitors to the harbor and generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for the city.

Kaohsiung City has a population of about 2.3 million people, so many spectators from outside the city will be making the trek just for the duck.

After the duck's first week in the city, final attendance figures are likely to exceed initial estimates.

Find more on Hofman and his famed fowl at the duck's official website.

More: How the big rubber duck was born

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0459 GMT (1259 HKT)
Of course you don't really need that LV trunk that converts into a deluxe shower, but wouldn't it be cool?
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1843 GMT (0243 HKT)
Get ready to pucker up -- to celebrate National Kissing Day on July 6, travel deals website Travelzoo has released a list of the world's top 10 romantic movie locations.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
In honor of Canada Day, a look at some of the country's most incredible manmade and natural beauties.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0617 GMT (1417 HKT)
VW ended Kombi production last year, but the spirit of adventure that endowed the vehicles lives on in Uganda.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
CNN wants to know the wonderful, bizarre and indispensable items you pack when getting ready to hit the road. Tell us #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
This is what happens when you ask a super-car designer to create a super swanky train.
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 2140 GMT (0540 HKT)
A 666-meter-long bridge shaped like a fire-breathing dragon heralds a new era of prosperity in Da Nang, Vietnam.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
There's a chance of being trampled or even gored, but thousands flock annually to the Spanish fiesta immortalized by Ernest Hemingway
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0854 GMT (1654 HKT)
Alcazar castle in Spain will stand in for Water Gardens of Dorne in the popular HBO series.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Before you join the masses in the hopes of snapping a geisha on her way to work, it's worth learning a few unwritten rules.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0808 GMT (1608 HKT)
Baptiste Dubanchet poses with food he's recovered from a trash can.
To highlight food waste, Frenchman travels across Europe fueled only by food recovered from trash cans.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 0731 GMT (1531 HKT)
Tour companies are cashing in on demand from timid thrill seekers who want to safely experience Bangkok's infamously raunchy nightlife.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
Dreading airport security, lost luggage or that middle seat? These travel headaches could be a thing of the past by 2024, according to a new report on the future of travel.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Latest model of aircraft affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies gets the red ribbon treatment, but jumbo jets are facing tough times
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
A former soldier plans to trek every country in the world, having been diagnosed with PTSD.
ADVERTISEMENT