Chinese Economy Boosts the Value of Racing Pigeons
China’s wealthy elite have become even richer lately as property prices have risen and the stock market has been faring well. Indeed, their wealth has increased by an estimated 13% in the last year alone. An elite group of pigeon fanciers amongst these wealthy businessmen are prepared to spend huge amounts of money to get their hands on the best birds and their enthusiasm is causing sale prices to sky rocket.
The World’s Most Expensive Pigeons
Property tycoon Xing Wei paid €400,000 ($490,000) for a Belgian pigeon called Nadine, in what is thought to be the largest deal in history. He followed up that investment by paying Rmb3m ($475,000) for a champion bird called Extreme Speed Goddess at a Beijing auction in December 2017.
Extreme Speed Goddess
Extreme Speed Goddess was bred by Chen Shiyi, the owner of a cosmetics company in Yiwu. His loft is located at his company’s headquarters and houses hundreds of carefully bred birds. He didn’t want to part with the prize bird but couldn’t refuse the high price offered. Extreme Speed Goddess won the coveted Iron Eagle Trophy last year and reached speeds above 80km per hour. She has thus far earned over Rmb10m in prize money.
Luxury Goods in China
After years of decline in the wake of the anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping in 2012, sales of luxury goods in China grew 20 per cent in 2017. If you are wondering what corruption has to do with luxury items, the issue relates to the Chinese custom of offering gifts during business negotiations. For gifts read bribes! But hugely expensive luxuries are back on the wealthy elite’s shopping lists and that includes racing pigeons.
Pigeons and Koi
Industry insiders claim that the record sales prices for pigeons are due to the activities of just half a dozen enthusiasts. The wealthy are also splashing the cash on koi fish and have been prepared to pay up to $380,000 for a single specimen. Nobody knows how long this trend could continue.
The soaring prices for pigeons are being accompanied by bigger prizes for pigeon-racing competitions. China’s premier 500km event which is called the Iron Eagle race series is run by the Pioneer International club in Beijing and boasts a prize pot of Rmb450m.
The Pioneer International Club takes a 30 per cent commission on any sales at its annual auction and theses commissions act as membership fees. Su Quanlin, the president of the club has said, "People have money but have nothing else to do"!!! There isn’t much that you can add to that comment!
Enthusiasts gamble on the pigeon races in spite of the fact that gambling is illegal in mainland China so any winnings are not taxed. The Government are sure to be taking a closer look at gambling activities and the high price of pigeons are serving to attract attention to the races.