Skip to main content

Giant duck conquers Taiwan

By Hiufu Wong, CNN
updated 1:00 AM EDT, Wed September 25, 2013
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
updated 8:49 PM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
updated 1:23 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
updated 3:25 AM EDT, Mon April 7, 2014
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
updated 2:23 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
updated 2:51 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
A colossal empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires -- Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Move to squeeze in extra passengers brings dose of economic reality to dreams of luxuriously pimped aircraft.
updated 4:03 AM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
British sound engineer wants you to ditch the camera and open your ears to "sound tourism."
updated 6:56 PM EDT, Sun March 30, 2014
Think bouncing on the end of an elastic rope is tough? Try jumping off a wooden tower with only a vine tied to your ankle.
updated 1:38 AM EDT, Fri March 28, 2014
Decimated by poaching, black rhino numbers are starting to increase again, thanks, in part, to on-foot tracking tours for tourists.
updated 10:59 PM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
Singapore Changi Airport has been crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row at the World Airport Awards.
updated 6:02 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
What do you get when you combine 60,000 photos, eight-hour cliff treks and months of patient processing? One of the year's great time-lapse videos.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT