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Olympics furniture a 'loser' in competition for auction buyers
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The Olympics and Paralympics might have left many Chinese with fond memories, but that isn't translating into buying interest at auctions for memorabilia and furniture used during the events.

More than 60,000 pieces of furniture used during the dual Games, as well as souvenirs, got the cold shoulder at an auction on Thursday, according to the Beijing Times.

The newspaper reported on Friday that the auction, the third of its kind, drew only 17 bidders for beds, mattresses, desks and refrigerators. The items were mainly from two media villages -- North Star and Huiyuan -- and were offered in 18 lots.

Four lots comprising 13,000 items only sold after their asking prices were slashed by 10 percent.

The buyers were Xing Guisheng of Zhangjiakou, a city in north China's Hebei Province; Wang Xijun, who operates a website known as www.dqccc.com; Liu Qiang, an employee of a trading company based in Jiugong, Daxing, in southern Beijing, and Li Shanting, a businessman from Huirou in northern Beijing.

The remaining 14 lots, involving more than 50,000 items, went unsold, said the newspaper.

Xiong Yan, chairman of the Beijing Property Exchange, admitted that the unsold items from Thursday's auction, hosted by auctioneer Sheng Yanbin with ZhongHongXin International Auction Co. Ltd., was beyond expectations. Previous auctions held on Aug. 5 and Sept. 9 went well.

"I think maybe each [lot] is too big, preventing individuals or smaller companies from buying," said Xiong, who added he was not discouraged by the result. He said more auctions were pending.

According the Beijing Times, the largest lot had 5,304 items while the smallest had 1,064.

Xing Guisheng from Hebei bought the no.1 unit, with 4,907 items, at a cost of 292,000 yuan (about 41,714 U.S. dollars). He said he would use the items in a planned guesthouse in his hometown. He'll have to pay the costs of shipping separately.

Website operator Wang Xijun, who bought 1,936 items for 115,000 yuan, said he would resell the items after refurbishing them.

Liu Qiang, who said he made the purchase of 4,132 items on behalf of his boss, for 249,000 yuan, said the items could be used for commercial or private use.

Li Shanting from Huairou, who spent 142,000 yuan, said he would use the furniture at a holiday village he runs at the foot of the Great Wall.

"I am considering setting aside a number of 'Olympics rooms' at my village," said Li. "What I paid was one-third cheaper than the market price. But I have to spend 70,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan to transport the items, which will make it almost equal to buying stuff directly from the open market."

(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2008)

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