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Car-plate prices in Shanghai tipped to rise
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11:15, November 08, 2007

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There is no respite in sight for Shanghai's long-suffering - and deep-pocketed - buyers of private car number plates.

The average price of plates will likely hit 53,000 yuan (7,121 U.S. dollars) this month, according to an estimate by an official with the Shanghai Economic Committee's Information Center yesterday.

"Based on the current prices on the second-hand plate market, there is no surprise that the coming bid will see a new high," said Zhu Junyi, an official with the auto research department under the information center.

The monthly plate auction, started in 2000, will be held on Nov. 17.

In October, the average winning bid for a private plate increased 1,369 yuan from September to 51,000 yuan, boosted by surging demand and people's anticipation of more expensive plates in the future.

The average price on a second-hand plate has reached 51,000 yuan already, according to Zhu.

He said prices for plates at the auction would be about 2,000 yuan more than for those on the second-hand market, based on past experience.

"One trend is that as more people choose to buy high-end cars, they couldn't care less about how much they spend on a plate," said Zhu.

"But the prices are unreasonable and unfair for most buyers. It also goes against the government's original intention to curb the number of cars on the road."

To cope with the surging prices, Zhu suggested the government change the monthly auction system and add more bidding opportunities. "But the fundamental solution is to improve the public transport network and make people prefer travel on Metro lines or in buses over their own cars," he said.

Shanghai is the only city on the Chinese mainland to issue plates by auction and the average price has increased fivefold over the past seven years.

Source: Shanghai Daily

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