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June 28, 2017

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Despite typhoon, Rubber Duck to go on display in Kaohsiung

KAOHSIUNG -- The 18-meter-tall Rubber Duck sculpture will go on display in Kaohsiung's harbor as planned on Thursday, despite the approach of a tropical storm expected to move through the region, a city official said yesterday.

The southern city will closely monitor the movements of Typhoon Usagi, which could bear down on Taiwan starting Friday, and the duck will be deflated and covered for its protection in the event of certain weather conditions, according to Information Bureau Director- General Lai Jui-lung.

Kaohsiung is the first leg of the Taiwan tour for Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's imaginative work, a massively scaled up version of the iconic rubber duck toys used by children worldwide during bath time.

The city expects to attract some 3 million visitors between Thursday and Oct. 20. That could generate NT$1 billion (US$33.71 million) for local businesses, many of which have developed products and tour packages based on the duck's visit, according to Lai.

Started in 2007, Hofman's project has seen different models of the Rubber Duck visit 15 cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Sydney and Hong Kong.

Taiwan's Rubber Duck, a newly built one, is the largest to be displayed in Asia, the city government said. It is scheduled to move up the island's western coast to Taoyuan, where it will be displayed Oct. 26-Nov. 10, and to Keelung starting Dec. 21.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Usagi was centered 1,150 kilometers east by southeast of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, moving in a westerly direction at a speed of nine to 12 km per hour, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

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