Hong Kong’s vainness automobile plates are a coveted luxury that can provide for thousands and thousands at auction

Penned by Kristie Lu StoutJadyn Sham, CNNHong Kong

At a federal government auction in Hong Kong, “EL0NMUSK” marketed for the equivalent of $1,405.

The namesake of the headline-grabbing tech titan is 1 of a range of chosen car or truck license plates — together with “Bad G1RL,” “LATTE” and “SHADYB1Z” — that went below the hammer at the stop of January. The auction’s maximum bid went to “1 HH” for 115,000 Hong Kong pounds ($14,684).

It is a hot current market. Hong Kong citizens have been recognized to fork out tens of millions of pounds for a coveted plate. In 2008, “18” — viewed as a lucky amount in Cantonese — went for 16.5 million Hong Kong bucks ($2.1 million). Eight yrs afterwards, “28” went for 18.1 million Hong Kong dollars ($2.3 million).

At the latest Lunar New Calendar year auction, “R” offered for 25.5 million Hong Kong pounds ($3.2 million). But the document was set in March 2021, when a person bidder expended 26 million Hong Kong bucks ($3.3 million) for a plate with a one letter: “W.”

Check out: Hong Kong vainness car or truck plates can provide for hundreds of thousands

A Transportation Office spokesperson told CNN that all income from the auctions of customized automobile plates, which arise often, go straight to the Hong Kong government’s Treasury.

For auto proprietors, the vanity plates can carry personalized indicating. Serious estate tycoon Cecil Chao obtained his, “CEC1L,” at a relative steal for just around $20,000 Hong Kong dollars ($2,550 in 2007). It now graces his silver and burgundy Rolls Royce.

He also has a Bentley bearing his surname “CHAO” and a convertible Rolls Royce with “4” — an unfortunate range in Cantonese and Mandarin, as it appears like “demise,” but not for the Shanghai-born assets developer.

“I was born in China, in Shanghai,” states Chao. “In Shanghainese, variety 4 (appears like) ‘happiness’ — this is my philosophy of lifetime.”

Since 2006, in excess of 40,000 “personalised auto registration marks” have been marketed at auction by the Hong Kong Transport Office, with prices commencing at around 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($640).

Fascinated parties have to very first inquire no matter whether their proposed mark fulfills the Transportation Department’s prerequisites. Motor vehicle entrepreneurs can produce plates of up to 8 figures (such as areas) but simply cannot incorporate the letters “I,” “O” and “Q.” The moment the mark is cleared, it has to be purchased via auction.

The city’s self-importance plate phenomenon has sparked social media lover accounts like @HKnumberplates on Twitter, the place hunters share their favorite finds on the web making use of the hashtag #HKnumberplates.
CNN a short while ago noticed quite a few plates on the streets, like a yellow Lamborghini with “SIN,” a black BMW with “DARKSIDE” and a white Porsche SUV with “CNN.”
"Are U 0K" spotted on a Hong Kong highway.

“Are U 0K” spotted on a Hong Kong highway. Credit history: Alex Dicker/CNN

Hong Kong-centered innovative director Michele Salati, who launched the HKVANIT1ES project a few several years ago, considers “0K LA” as his own favored. Broadly seen all over town on an iconic purple taxi, it was also the 1st license plate he seen when he moved to the city 7 decades in the past.

“These self-importance plates are employed by their homeowners to emphasize their standing, prosperity, humor, wants, superstitions or even their favorite foodstuff,” Salati claims.

“To me, each and every plate is like a line of poetry, racing via the streets of the city. I could see that it is really a sort of poetry in movement.”

Salati’s on the internet system collects pics of individualized plates and invites buyers to string them together into poetry.

He suggests he’s collected about 2,500 pictures and 300 poems for his platform, which includes a rap by regional artist Dough Boy (that later grew to become a music movie) and a shorter ode titled “TGIF” by a consumer named Tony:


A range of eyebrow-raising personalized plates have also been spotted on Teslas racing all-around the metropolis such as “BEAVER,” “MR XXL” and the fairly cheeky “Go Gas.”

The new operator of the “EL0NMUSK” registration mark, and the make of their auto, is presently unknown.

Top rated image caption: A yellow Lamborghini in Hong Kong sporting the license plate “SIN.” Illustration by Ian Berry, images by CNN/Adobe Inventory.

This post was up-to-date to include things like results from the hottest license plate auction on Feb. 12.