Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lucky License Plates

The nouveau riche in China are spending their new found lucre on license plates with plenty of numbers considered "lucky" in Chinese culture:

First Comes the Car, Then the $10,000 License Plate
GUANGZHOU, China — At a government auction inside a dingy gymnasium, a young businessman named Ding walked away a happy winner the other day. Like everyone else, he was bidding on license plates and did not seem to mind that his cost $6,750.

For the same money, Mr. Ding could almost have afforded two of the Chinese-made roadsters popular in the domestic car market. His bid was almost 20 times what a Chinese farmer earns in a year, and almost 7 times the country's per capita annual income.

And yet, in the auction in this manufacturing capital in southern China, Mr. Ding, who gave only his last name, could not even claim top price. The most expensive plate — AC6688 — fetched $10,000 on a day when officials sold hundreds of plates for a total of $366,500.


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