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("Breakup insurance” for the new relationship between Taylor Swift and actor Tom Hiddleston sells on Taobao.)|
An item billed as “breakup insurance” for the new relationship between Taylor Swift and actor Tom Hiddleston has been removed from Chinese e-commerce giant Taobao on suspicion of illegal fund collection.
The insurance first went on sale just after rumors and photos of the new couple became public. Selling for just 1 yuan, the item description promised to double customers' money if Swift broke up with Hiddleston within one year.
However, the so-called breakup insurance is not a real type of insurance, and Taobao executives suspect that it could be a case of fraudulent fund-raising. Therefore, the item has been removed from Taobao along with several other suspicious products, according to the company’s announcement which was issued on Wednesday.
Lei Liang, the head of Taobao's monitoring team, told Qianjiang Evening News that items on the company's "blacklist" are either entirely illegal or else being sold illegally, often because their sale require licenses that the vendors do not possess.
Despite the concerns of Taobao higher-ups, the Taylor Swift breakup insurance was allegedly selling well before it was removed from the site. One seller claimed to have sold 543 insurance policies, while another said that one customer spent 400 yuan on the insurance, China Daily reported.
No results could be found on Taobao for Swift and Hiddleston's "breakup insurance" as of press time.
“The variety and inclusiveness offered by Taobao allow many people to sell all kinds of products in the name of innovation, but everything is under our close watch,” Lei noted. The first blacklist contained eight products, including illegal registration for unqualified drivers for the online car-hailing app Didi Dache, as well as the temporary "rental" of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
According to Lei, the monitoring team at Taobao, which consists of fewer than 50 employees, works hard to identify all suspected unlawful products on Taobao every day. The products are then removed and the sellers can even be punished. As of June, the team had removed over 2.34 million unlawful products, Qianjiang Evening News reported.