Image source, Chaoyang District Court/TaobaoImage caption, Eight-year-old Deng Deng was abandoned at a pet training centre in 2014

An abandoned dog who become an internet sensation in China has sold at auction for 160,000 yuan (£18,500; $25,000).

The Shiba Inu called Deng Deng had been left at a pet training centre seven years ago and his owner never returned.

A Beijing court ordered the eight-year-old dog be put up for auction after the owner could not be located.

The online bidding generated enormous interest, with Deng Deng selling for 320 times the initial asking price of just $78.

The auction was supposed to last for 24 hours. But it had to be extended by a further five, after attracting 480 bidders and more than 166,000 views.

Driven by the rise of the cryptocurrency that shares its name, the market for Shiba Inus, a breed of Japanese hunting dogs, has exploded in recent months. Last month, billionaire Elon Musk shared a picture of his Shiba Inu puppy, Floki.

Deng Deng had been left at the centre and had been incurring unpaid fees.

Image source, Chaoyang District Court/TaobaoImage caption, A Beijing court advertised Deng Deng's auction online

The centre reportedly sued the owner and demanded he pay the money. But after the court failed to contact the owner, it advertised Deng Deng's auction online.

The advert, and an accompanying video, went viral on Chinese social networking site Weibo, where many users expressed sympathy for the dog's plight.

The Shiba Inu is an agile, small- to medium-sized hunting dog with short fur and a fox-like face.

The identity of the buyer has not been disclosed.

Livestreaming sales have boomed in China during the Covid pandemic as many people have been forced to stay at home under strict lockdown rules.

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Last month, Li Jiaqi, a livestreaming star known as China's "lipstick king", sold about £1.2bn worth of goods in 12 hours on e-commerce giant Alibaba's Taobao platform.