More than a thousand people queued up to try and buy an IKEA x Off White carpet. Photo: Weibo

The Chinese like to queue up. Two months ago, it was the Starbucks cat-paw cup. This week it was the IKEA x Off-White carpet.

Over 1,000 people lined up in front of Shanghai’s Xuhui shop for a collection of items produced in collaboration between IKEA and American designer Off-White, including the most popular “KEEP OFF” carpet.

The carpets were offered at at 1,999 yuan (US$297.6), but the demand was so high that the grey market price soared to over 10,000 yuan ($1,489) on online portals such as Taobao.com, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform.

Because of the big premium to be had on the grey market, speculators hired people to line up for the items.

According to the Shanghai Morning Post, they paid people for 50 yuan each ($7.44) to queue outside the IKEA Xuhui store in Shanghai from as early as 4am on Monday.

This led to the outlet having over 1,000 people lined up ahead of opening time with the crowd forming a snake pattern, the paper reported.

The Shanghai IKEA store was the only one that allowed people to line up for the sale. At a branch in Beijing, only online orders were accepted, with IKEA notifying lucky winners to come and pick up their purchases.

The IKEA x Off-White collection has been a big hit ever since it was launched last November. The most popular items by Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, a former artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, have lately been changing hands at several times the retail price.

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