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September 26, 2012

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Car plate lock-up period raised to 3 years

INDIVIDUALS who win license plates at monthly auctions are now banned from transferring it for three years, the latest move by the city government to curb speculation on plate prices, the Shanghai Transport and Port Administration announced yesterday.

The lock-up period will "make it harder for scalpers to make profits off of speculation," according to Sun Jianping, director of the administration.

Previously, car plates could be transferred after one year.

The move came as the average price for a Shanghai car plate hit a record high of 66,425 yuan (US$10,528) this month, up 25 percent from January.

The measure has been on a trial run since July, traffic officials said.

Huang Xiaoyong, a spokesman with the traffic administration, said: "As far as we can tell the effect is good and there has been a decrease in speculators."

More than 19,000 people made bids at this month's auction, down 2,000 from August.

A car plate can still be transferred within the three years under certain circumstances such as through a marriage, inheritance, a court ruling and other special considerations, the government said.

The response among potential car buyers and owners has been mixed

"I doubt it will ease the rapid increase of car plate prices," said a car owner surnamed Lu, who added that he expected prices will still be high next month.

"The demand is large, so it's not really scalpers pushing up prices," said Lu.

Some residents have complained about surging license plate prices, which are more expensive than some car models.

The number of registered vehicles in the city jumped nearly 10 percent last year to reach 2.51 million, according to Shanghai traffic police.


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