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Buying a car in Shanghai? Don’t forget your $9,380 license plate


Buying a car in Shanghai? Don’t forget your $9,380 license plateChina may have surpassed the United States as the world's largest buyer of new cars and trucks, but that doesn't mean getting a car in China is all that easy. Exhibit A: This month's government auction of license plates for new vehicles in Shanghai, where the average bid reached $9,380 -- and they weren't even personalized.

With concern about Shanghai's roads turning into even more of a pollution-filled parking lot, the government set a lottery and auction for how many license plates it would release each month. For March, that meant 8,000 new plates were made available, but 24,897 potential owners signed up for the bidding, according to Xinhua News. At those prices, some of the plates may be worth more than the cars they would be attached to.

And according to China Daily, residents of Shanghai question whether the whole system is really raising money for road construction or just propping up a network of license plate brokers who keep their prices just above that of the auction system. At least they should come with some spiffy frames.

Photo: POPOEVER via Flickr