Chinese police are detaining a man after he posted an offer on eBay's Chinese website to sell babies over the internet, according to a local press report.

The man, identified only by his surname, Wu, was arrested by police on 28 October, Shanghai Daily reported. The advertisement was determined by police to be a joke, it said.

On 16 October, a seller using the name Chuangxinzhe Yongyuan offered babies for sale on eBay's Chinese website, saying they were being offered to help infertile couples. The babies would purportedly come from China's Henan province. Baby boys were priced at 28,000 Renminbi (about £2,000) while baby girls were offered for 13,000 Renminbi (£950).

The offer was viewed by 50 people before eBay staff removed it and notified authorities.

Police said their investigation showed that Wu found a leaflet advertising the sale of babies in Xinyang, Henan province, and later decided to place a similar ad online as a joke, according to the report.