Shanghai: License Plates Cost More Than A Car

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
shanghai license plates cost more than a car

Want to move to Shanghai to cash in on the Chinese car boom? Want to drive a car in Shanghai? Better bring a lot of money.

Prices for a license plate in Shanghai rose to at two year high in the year’s first plate auction, Shanghai Daily reports. The average price of a private car license rose to US$5,617. A new QQ goes for as little as $4,100.

To curb traffic in the notoriously clogged city, Shanghai auctions off around 8,000 plates a month. At yesterday’s auction were 18,975 bidders.

Demand is high because car sales usually spike up during the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 14 this year. There are also rumors that the city may limit car registrations further in preparation for the World Expo 2010, starting in May in Shanghai.

And let’s not forget the most obvious explanation: Demand for cars remains hot in China, with sales projected to be around 15m this year.

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6 of 21 comments
  • Ernie Ernie on Jan 25, 2010

    Bertel - that's the creepiest website I've seen today :o Good you posted the car link though -> I thought they ran out of QQ numbers (akin to ICQ) and had to start selling them :D

  • JuniperBug JuniperBug on Jan 25, 2010

    Is that $5k a one-time fee? A "high risk" (read: fully-faired sport) motorcycle in Quebec now costs $1400/year to register. There are bikes dating back to 1986 which have been blacklisted, meaning that in some cases the plates cost more every year than the bike is worth. Ironically, my 125 hp Suzuki(nicknamed by the press "The Widowmaker" when it was introduced)is not considered "high-risk" because there is no fairing around the engine. Governments the world over make no sense when it comes to registration laws.

  • BuzzDog BuzzDog on Jan 25, 2010

    It rankles me a bit when public policy decisions like this are made, and then the government gets all in a lather when people cheat the system. Look for a huge counterfeit license plate industry in China before the end of the month.

    • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Jan 25, 2010

      Already here. The only things that haven't been counterfeited are those which haven't been invented yet.

  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Jan 25, 2010

    Does anyone else find it weird that a "communist" country uses an auction for its license plates? If that isn't capitalist and/or elitist (is that the right word...the rich are the ones who can afford it), I don't know what is.

    • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Jan 25, 2010

      Not weird at all. Why would you go through the hassle to restrict something and not make money off it? In China, if you can make a buck doing something, you do it.