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March 20, 2013

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Home » Metro » Public Services

City ready to cool market for car plates

SHANGHAI is to take further measures to rein in car plate prices if current curbs on speculation fail to cool this month's auction, the city government said yesterday.

The average price for a Shanghai car plate has set new highs for eight straight months, surpassing the 80,000 yuan (US$12,872) benchmark in February and making the little metal plate almost three times more expensive than the cheapest car on the market.

"Car plate prices have recently gone beyond our imagination," Vice Mayor Jiang Ping said yesterday. "We need to take various means to bring them down."

New policies in the works include reserving new car plates for new cars only, organizing separate auctions for individual and corporate participants, and including second-hand car plate trading in the new car plate bidding system.

The first solution, aimed at enforcing a new rule that extends the holding period before a plate can be resold, may further push scalpers out of the game while the second would ease competition for individual buyers as corporates were often less price-sensitive, Jiang said.

The third solution is designed as the next stage of a policy introduced last Friday, which forbids second-hand car plates being sold for more than the latest average price for a new one starting from this month's auction.

To that end, the government is to strengthen its management of used car dealers, and keep a closer eye on illicit methods such as creating two different contracts to hide car plate prices from the authorities.

The government is also trying to improve the online auction system to make it easier for ordinary people, Jiang said.

Currently, many bidders hire proxy agencies. But they have been suspected of using special software to intercept bidding data and calculate the potential lowest successful bid near closing, cutting better deals for their clients at the expense of other participants.


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