High demand for licence plates that allow vehicles to travel across the Hong Kong-mainland China border are driving prices up to as much as 1.1 million yuan in Guangdong’s black market, reported on Thursday.
Some sellers even tout the great "investment opportunity", claiming the price will only rise in the future.
Duo licence plates, issued by Guangdong's Traffic Management Bureau, are difficult to obtain because of high standards on applicants, said the report.
According to the current regulation, a qualified applicant has to invest US$400, 000 in a business entity in rural Guangdong and pay an annual tax of 1500, 000 yuan (HK$184, 863). Or the applicant needs to invest US$1 million in a business entity in urban Guangdong, and pay an annual tax of 300, 000 yuan, said the report.
Philanthropists who have donated more than 10 million yuan to mainland China are also eligible for a duo licence plate.
Shenzhen’s Huanggang border checkpoint stopped issuing duo licence plates since 2008, after Guangdong decided to control the number of such plates, said Jin Yan, a lawyer in Guangdong. But Shenzhen Bay border checkpoint is still issuing them. The two checkpoints have been the major issuers of the duo plates to Hong Kong vehicles.
According to Jin, the black market price for plates issued by Huang Gang ranges from 1 million yuan to 1.1 million yuan. The plates issued by Shenzhen Bay checkpoints go for 700, 000 yuan to 800, 000 yuan.
Black market agents either help clients purchase plates from a qualified business or register a shadow company and apply for the plates, said Jin.