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Lift it to win it: Chinese city attracts tourists with one-handed, 25kg gold bar challenge

Lift it to win it: Chinese city attracts tourists with one-handed, 25kg gold bar challenge
PHOTO: Screengrab/Douyin

Lifting 25kg might not seem too heavy for an average person. 

But what about lifting a 25kg gold bar, using just one hand? Now, that's a challenge!

Dubbed the 'gold capital' of China, Zhaoyuan City in Shandong recently went viral for its 'Lift the gold brick' challenge on May 3.

In a promotional video, the city's Culture and Tourism Bureau promised to give away the hefty pure gold bar worth more than 10 million yuan (S$1.9 million) to the first person who can lift it up using only one hand.

Many netizens lauded the innovative move and said that it showed a different and friendly side to Chinese officials.

Another video showed several participants attempting to lift the gold brick in one hand and failing to do so. 

Unexpectedly, an elderly man was the only one seen successfully completing the challenge. Many netizens, however, were curious if the man received his prize.

The organisers clarified that the elderly man had lifted a fake gold bar that weighed only 12.5kg.

It was intended to be a prop for tourist to take photos, they said. Even if it was the real brick, the old man did not meet the requirements of the challenge. 

According to the organisers, the rules stipulate that challengers should lift the trapezoid-shaped gold bar up with one hand, while keeping the larger side down and parallel to the surface of the exhibition stand for 25 seconds.

This sparked outrage among netizens, who questioned the credibility of the challenge.

One commenter was cited by South China Morning Post as saying: "Don't initiate the challenge if you can't afford it. Is there even a person who can do it successfully?"

Another comment even compared Zhaoyuan's tourism tactic with their neighbouring city Zibo, which was recently hailed as China's "outdoor barbecue capital" and won national acclaim for its reasonable and friendly tourism policies.

"Zibo's success in tourism is down to its honesty. Zhaoyuan totally plays it wrong," the user said.

The organisers also shared that the challenge had existed since the museum opened in 2009, and that no one has succeeded to date. 

Gold bar lifting challenges in Asia

Such challenges have been used as a tactic to attract visitors in many countries over the years.

In 2019, a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur organised a similar contest known as The Golden Royale – Gold Bar Challenge where participants were asked to lift an approximately 7kg gold bar out of an acrylic box with a small hole within 60 seconds.

Over in Singapore, we also have our very own gold bar lifting challenge that's been held during Chinese New Year at Chinatown Point

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