Six private jets were put up for a four-day auction at 10 am on Thursday on Taobao, one of the country's largest e-commerce platforms, with the price of one model starting at 1 yuan ($0.16).
By 11 pm Thursday, the ongoing auction, which consists of five brand-new and one secondhand light aircraft, had attracted 24 bids for the J160-C jet manufactured by the Australia-based Jabiru, while there were no bids on the other five.
The six jets have all been registered with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), and have their Special Airworthiness Certificate and Aircraft Station License issued by the administration.
Jabiru's jet, which requires a 2,000-yuan deposit in advance, only allows individual buyers to raise the price by integers of 10,000 yuan.
It was at 1.02 million yuan by late Thursday.
The starting price of the other five models ranges from 1.05 million to 16.8 million yuan, while the secondhand R44 Raven is fixed as 3.53 million yuan.
The platform also set up a button beside five models to allow users to pretend to buy a plane, and after clicking on it, anyone can share their experience on private jet purchase to social networking platforms.
"The deposit from buyers is frozen before they participate in bidding. If their bid is successful, the buyer then needs to pay another 30,000 yuan as down payment," a Taobao press officer told the Global Times.
The buyer will then see the aircraft in person and sign a purchase agreement if they are satisfied with it. If they are not satisfied, the money will be totally refunded," said the press officer.
"The reason why we want to start the auction of a model from 1 yuan and set up that button to pretend to purchase is that we want more people to get involved and learn about private jets," the officer said.
"This is the first time that private jets have been put online in China. Such auction of planes, both new and secondhand alike, has been common in foreign countries," said Yang Sai, a marketing director with sirenji.com, a private jet-related website that put those jets up for auction.
The website provides services from private jet trading and pilot license training to jet leasing.
"We only act as an intermediary between jet owners and potential buyers," Yang told the Global Times Thursday, adding that he is optimistic about the future development of China's private jet industry.
He declined to comment on the auction as it is still going on, adding that those planes have all been tested and certified by the CAAC, and all of them have been well maintained with no record of accidents.