Chinese shipping businessman, Hu Zhen Yu broke a world record by paying $328,000 for a Dutch pigeon. This is the single most expensive purchase of a pigeon. Auctioneer Pieter Veenstra sold Hu the pigeon online via his website Pigeon Paradise (PIPA). Veenstra auctioned 245 other pigeons at that time and made a total of $2.5 million dollars, making it the most expensive pigeon auction ever.
Hu Zhen Yu owns one of the largest South China pigeon-racing organizations and intends to breed the Dutch pigeon, rather than race it. In 2011, Hu sponsored a pigeon race offering $1.1 million in prize money. Pigeon racing is very popular in the UK, Belgium and Holland. Hu hopes to popularize the sport in China.
Pigeon racing is a very precise sport, requiring birds to fly carefully measured distances. Pigeons are trained to fly between 80 and 700 miles. The races are often tight coming down to seconds between first and second place.