Hofman's Rubber Duck in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. (Photo/CFP)
A visit from a sculpture shaped like a giant rubber duck could bring as much as NT$1 billion (US$33.4 million) to Keelung in northern Taiwan when it visits the port city later this year, the city council speaker said on Tuesday.
The massive floating sculpture, aptly titled Rubber Duck, will be displayed in Keelung's harbor for six weeks starting from Dec. 21, council speaker Huang Jing-tai said at a press conference in the city.
This 18-meter-tall Rubber Duck is one of several created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, all of which have delighted people in coastal cities worldwide for over a decade, Huang said.
Keelung hopes that the duck will attract five million visitors to the northern city when it briefly makes its nest there, Huang said.
The economic boost aside, the giant yellow duck is also set to bring smiles to the residents of the industrial port city, which Huang pointed out has been ranked the least happy city in the country for five years running.
The bid to raise public morale was a key factor in convincing Hofman to bring the duck into port, Huang said.
Hofman, who was also at the announcement, said that he also hopes that his creation can spread joy and happiness. He took the opportunity to praise Keelung, saying he was baffled that residents could be unhappy in a city surrounded by natural beauty and filled with delicious food.
People across Taiwan fell in love with the Rubber Duck when it docked in nearby Hong Kong between May 2 and June 9, after which Taiwanese cities including Keelung and Kaohsiung vied to become its next landing spot.
The duck is set to visit the southern city of Kaohsiung first from Sept. 19 to Oct. 20 before moving up to Taoyuan county in the north between Oct. 26 and Nov. 10. The central city of Taichung is also reportedly in talks to host the duck.
Hofman will build a brand new Rubber Duck for Taiwan which will stand 18 meters tall, Huang said, meaning it will be larger than its 16.5-meter older brother that visited Hong Kong.