A 24-year-old man from Shanghai put his soul up for auction on the country's most popular auction website, Taobao, last week, posting an initial starting price of just over one dollar.

By the time Tabao decided to pull the item from the site, the soul had attracted 58 bids with the highest at $84.

"We reviewed Taobao's policies and realised we had no specific policy on the selling of souls," said Porter Erisman, spokesman for Taobao's parent company, Yahoo-backed Alibaba.com. "After reviewing our policies, the posting was taken down last Friday."

The man told the South China Morning Post newspaper that he intended to mail pictures and souvenirs of his life to the buyer, had the auction been successful.

Instead, he told AFP that he has now sold his soul to a female journalist for an undisclosed price.

 

"I will give it to her by express mail," he said.

Erisman said Taobao wasn't opposed to the idea of soul selling online, but wanted more proof that the seller could provide the goods.

 

"After some discussion, we decided that we will allow the member to sell his soul on Taobao, but only if he can provide written permission from a 'higher authority'," he said.

Taobao made its decision as Chinese around the world on Wednesday observed Qing Ming, a traditional holiday where many travel to their ancestors' graves to clean them and offer gifts to the spirits.

Taobao is no stranger to odd items being put up for auction, with past sales including advertising space on one member's forehead.