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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Qatar residents pay QR10 million for ‘fancy’ license plates

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Buyers have spent a total of nearly QR10 million ($2.7 million) in an online auction for “fancy” license plate numbers in Qatar that closed last night.

The online auction started at 12pm on Tuesday and finished at 10pm on Thursday. It was held through the government application Metrash 2.

Bidding was run by the Traffic Department, which is under the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

Those who participated in the auction had to submit a deposit of QR20,000 ($5,500). Bids started at QR100,000 ($27,500) according to the department’s announcement on Twitter.

If the successful bidders don’t pay for their purchase within two days, they lose the license plate number and their deposit.

By the numbers

By the time the two-day auction closed at 10pm on Thursday, the highest bid had surpassed QR900,000 ($257,000), for the license plate number 377773.

Screen grab from online auction on Metrash 2
Screen grab from online auction on Metrash 2

In the last 45 minutes of the auction, the bidding on this unique number jumped QR100,000 from QR836,000 ($230,000) to QR936,000 ($257,086).

The second most expensive license plate number, 363636, was purchased for QR802,000 ($220,000).

A total of 24 license plate numbers were up for grabs during the auction. The lowest price paid was for license plate number 335353, which went for QR228,000 ($62,600).

Each license plate in the auction consisted of six digits, starting with the number three and including two repeated digits.

In the GCC, extravagant cars, designer brands and unique license plates and phone numbers are a common way of flaunting wealth.

The millions spent this week on “vanity” license plates are much less than last year, where residents shelled out over QR220 million ($60 million).

Reaction

However, some residents have criticized this auction on Twitter, saying it encouraged “superficial thinking” and “narcissism.”

Others praised the auction and its organizers, saying it gave the people the freedom to bid on special license plates, instead of handing them out as presents to prominent figures or randomly distributing them.

It remains unclear how the traffic department will spend the revenues from the online auction. Bidders can pay for their license plate numbers by credit card, or writing a check to the MOI or the Financial Affairs Department.

In the UAE, where similar auctions take place, proceeds usually go to charity.

Record-breaking license plate 1 in Dubai
Record-breaking license plate 1 in Dubai

A few years ago, a UAE businessman set a world record for the most expensive license plate by bidding over Dh52 million ($14.2 million) for the unique license plate number 1.

At the time, Abdulla al Mannaie, managing director of Emirates Auctions, told ABC News that vanity plates are an investment that yield more than a 20 percent annual return.

The regional number craze isn’t limited to license plates only, and also includes easy-to-remember phone numbers.

In 2012, a wealthy Qatari businessman paid QR1.4 million ($284,000) for one of these numbers.

And in 2006, the phone number (666- 6666) was sold for QR10 million in Qatar, earning the country’s largest telecom provider Ooredoo (then known as Qtel) a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. The proceeds of these auctions also went to charity.

Thoughts?

56 COMMENTS

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Blue
Blue
5 years ago

Contemplating buying a special number – it is an asset and holds value better than my car!!! The numbers and figures quoted though are ridiculous – will stick to the QAR 1k for the special number from the dealer

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

I am trying to think of a positive comment for this story but I can’t. So far all what comes to mind is “stupid, ridiculous, nonsensical” and things along those lines.

Hailm
Hailm
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That’s very Tunisian of you.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Hailm

Deleting for personal attack.

taurz
taurz
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

OMG… where do u get the time to read through all these comments…???? 🙂 .. good job though…!!

MrJames
MrJames
5 years ago

What a difference between the guys providing free meals to the poor at Zaiqa restaurant, and these morons paying millions for a ridiculous licence plate.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

First, it is their money, 2nd they didn’t burn it, the government now has the money, 3rd, it is their money, 4th, this amount might be like nothing to them, 5th, it is their money.

So by your logic, rich people shouldn’t buy anything expensive for themselves, just because there are people in the world? Why are you allowed not to buy the cheapest cloths and stuffs other? Who gave you the authority to decide how much is the limit for everything.

I don’t care for car plates number, in fact, I got a very random number, just pointing your idiocy.

Reem M
Reem M
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

it’s not that they can’t buy anything expensive for themselves it’s just that doesn’t make sense why anyone that is sane would do such a thing !!!

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Reem M

i agree to us it may seem odd… to me it is also odd someone would spend the same amount of money of wine.. or spend the same amount of money on a piece of “modern art” that’s nothing more than a steal bar… or if someone spends the same amount of money on a boat… at least these number hold in value… and can increase… some banks will even hold them as collator for small loans

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

If a bank will do that please let me know which so I don’t put my money in there to be leant to these fools. I’d say the license plate market is most volatile at best. Play the stock market, better odds.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

And again what is the “prestiege of 377773”? $62,500 for 335353? Really please tell me if I’m missing something.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Palindromes are very important in the Middle East.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Simon

Most of the numbers are not

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Simon

When you have nothing in your brain you need to buy ‘status symbols’ to be someone. And there are enough people of that sort. Let them live their way of life, you can live yours.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

i agree with you, im so happy to see rich foolish kids spend so much money of these plates, because the money goes back to the govt instead of these boys spending it on other ridiclious items and pushing inflation up

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

If they spend it on other non governmental items it would grow the economy. Well at least in a normal economy.

MrJames
MrJames
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

sorry, what’s your point? what you’ve written makes no sense.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

The point he’s making is that rich people are free to do whatever with their money ..

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

What difference between those who move to Africa for poverty missions while you sit on your bum browsing Doha News

MrJames
MrJames
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

so…. i should give up reading news on the internet? That’s your point?

and what exactly is it you’re doing? #samesame

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

Might, I repeat, might make a difference if the plate said something clever like in the States. But these are just numbers that don’t seem to mean ANYTHING. Am I missing something with 377773? A fool as his money…

FM
FM
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

It’s actually 37, 3 7s, 3

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  FM

And that means….what? Same thing I said 377773

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago

There’s a saying. A fool is easily parted from his (or her) money!

Ali
Ali
5 years ago

They don’t have the money to pay their workers on time or to pay them decent salaries and they get upset when Philipine embassy asks to raise the maid’s wage to 300 dollars but when it comes to showing off they can make millions of dollars rain without a second thought!

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

How do you know its the same people buying numbers who aren’t paying the workers you clown?

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

How do you know they are not? “You clown”? Really? Are we in grade 3?

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

you are the clown, you were the one who made that assumption, so defend your assumption and tell us how do you know that the individuals bidding are also guilty of not paying their employers if they are business owners.. or are you just making this assumption based on the fact they are qataris?

Where are you from ali, lets all play a game of you telling us where you are from and we assume things about you based on your nationality

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Lol you don’t have to assume I don’t believe in races because everything about nationality and race is based on some stupid BS* some human came up with back in the days to divide people. To make things easier people of my nationality are busy killing each other in the name of religion, the govt. Is infested with curroption, the people stab each other in the back and poverty is skyrocketing and no one cares about them, it went through a lot of struggle to get freedom but since 90 it has been a victim of curropt politician sucking its blood and there are riots every day in some cities where as the other cities have Al Qaeda. So go figure where I come from and the other country doesn’t give passport to those who were born and raised in it. Lol this whole political, nationalism, patriotism, countries, nationalities are a big joke to me. I saved you the trouble of assuming.

What about you Mr. clown lol?

Oh just to be clear before you go on assuming I was talking about “All Qataris”, I was actually referring to everyone who don’t pay their employees and buy expensive stuff and I was a victim of it many times. That’s kind of why I stopped working for anyone and became an entrepreneur. Now what is your basis of assuming that I made an assumption? Do you know me? Or anything about me? Its easy to talk trash and call names when ur sitting on a high horse, try to get down and have a view of life from the other side. You might learn a thing or two.

Saleem
Saleem
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

I never said they were not, I don’t know if they are or not, I don’t make such claims without evidence.

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Well I’m giving a testimony based on my experience and what I witnessed. Next time I’ll try to document it on a video for you.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

“He said clown….ma’am! He said clown! Please delete it is hurtful. MA’AMMM PLEASE……”

Ali
Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

Are you OK? Might wanna cut down on alcohol consumption.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

How dare ya even suggest such thing! Alright! You deserve to be called clown then!

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

I guess the money goes to charity. It’s a good way to let vain people pay for something that serves those who are in need.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

Something tells me the “operating costs” on this venture will be very high since only the proceeds go to charity. Usually that means minus those mysterious OCs. Without transparency of any sort we’ll never know if the charity thing is true or not will we?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Deleting this for making a stereotypical assumption, and subsequent thread.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

10 million riyals could have fixed the accommodation issues of Hamaalis and other workers in a dire situation.. Oh wait vanity numbers are more important.

Talal Mousa
Talal Mousa
5 years ago

we live in a sad society that throws money on nonsense. Complete stupidity is my comment regarding this article. You can spend aot of money on buying a house, educating yourself, traveling (all things that will benefit you) ; NOT A FREAKING LICENSE PLATE

Mr Burns
Mr Burns
5 years ago

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago

It is stupid but what does one expect the way the world works right now? People who are rich and powerful (or at least seem that way) are treated better, are given priority (entrance to a country club or reservations to a booked restaurant), a louder voice in governments and other benefits. The media constantly bombards us with messages of having a luxurious lifestyle and having as many material objects as possible. Society has tied that with people’s self worth. A lot of celebrities end up wasting their millions and lottery winners spend their earnings almost immediately. When we as a society celebrate wealth, power and luxury above all else than how are we surprised?

And on a another note to play devil’s advocate… who decides that you should feel guilty of spending that money on a license plate than on a charity? Should you feel guilty if it was a designer bag? A yacht? A fancy car? A 1st class ticket? A second home? A starbucks coffee? None of these things we actually need, they are extras. So what is the deciding factor? How much money you spend on an object? How much money you earn? Your assets? Who decides that a purchase is ridiculous and that you should be ashamed of yourself? Who draws the line between you being financially secure and you being too rich that you should be spending your extra money on the less needy?

There is an interesting (and worrying) talk on youtube if you search for “The RSA : the inequality and the 1 percent” that talks about today’s situation. It also mentions that people look above them and think well those people are richer, i’m not making that much and therefore think that their spending is justified.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

I don’t think anyone is deciding what they can spend their hard earn…, i mean cash on.

For such a so called conservative country, and the plight of so many muslims throughout the Middle East at this time… Seems a bit contradictory to me. Take all that cash wasted, IMO, and use it for some real good. OK you can’t live without the Cheetah, the LC, etc but come on.

377773 is not going to make me look at your vehicle $257,000 worth. Probably not a 50 dirham either. It might be a $100 if it had letters than spelled something catchy. YALLAH, BEEPBEEP, OMGMOV, FLASHER, CRASH4U, GETOVER, YAHAMR,… Or 0 or 1, no ones cares about 2. Why does someone pay $62,500 for 335353? It’s not even a palindrome. People obviously have too much money but the country can’t finish airports, hospitals, roads, etc. Projects have been cancelled or postponed on the drawing table, at the beginning or during the actual project.

Maybe this is to support the traffic department since they can’t function with only expat funding from violations so this is a covert action to “tax” those who seem to never do wrong on the roads.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

I meant who gets to decide what is judged as an acceptable purchase and what is not an acceptable purchase. Most of us see this as a waste of money, would having a wardrobe of designer clothes have the same response?

I agree with you. To me it doesn’t feel right to spend money like that when there are so many suffering. I don’t have answers to what is acceptable spending or earning, these are just questions that seem more and more relevant these days.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Clothes, no. Apples and oranges.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

Bets being placed on date of first traffic offense by 377773. Double your money if you can guess the infraction.

sicti
sicti
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Jumping red light on Sunday :))

KK
KK
5 years ago

Have they actually paid or have they ‘pledged’ to pay ?

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

In the normal Qatari way, they are of course ‘mulling’ it!

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Don’t see the problem with this but it would be nice to see the money transparently allocated to a good cause whether that be humane or safety related. Other countries have exactly the same auctions but the money just disappears into the government funds and the population is no wiser as to how it is spent.

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
5 years ago

I have a five digit license plate for sale.

Bo
Bo
5 years ago

Are these the “special” number plates where the camera doesn’t flash or the ticket mysteriously doesn’t arrive? Might explain the lowest going for $63k then…

Bo.Jassim.qtr
Bo.Jassim.qtr
5 years ago

So sad , I lost that number to the current owner by 100,000 QR 🙁

Salman Khan
Salman Khan
5 years ago

Buying Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast for $3154 is okay, but fancy number is Not!

http://www.businessinsider.com/weird-ebay-auctions-celebrities-2011-7?op=1

Edward
Edward
5 years ago

Sure, people should be able to spend their own money on whatever they want, and we all have different preferences regarding what we value.

But I can’t imagine a hard-working entrepreneur, who obtained his wealth by sweat and toil, wasting it on a phone number or license plate. Only someone who is spoiled because he obtained his money without really working for it (like the country itself, which is rich only because it happens to be located on a parcel of land that nature endowed with petroleum) would waste it so. It’s a sad commentary on the maturity of the society here that people are so motivated by status symbols. Then again, the World Cup and most of the country’s other “investments” are nothing more than large-scale status symbols.

What’s the difference between a license plate, you ask, and a designer handbag, or a yacht, or a trip, or a painting? Well, America and Europe have plenty of rich people, but nobody there spends so much on license plates and phone numbers. (In most American states, you can spend a nominal amount, like a couple hundred dollars, for a vanity plate.) If my son spent hundreds of thousands of dollars this way, I would feel like a failure as a parent.

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
5 years ago

What is the process involved in selling plates? How difficult is it? Do you just buy a new plate and keep your old one?

Salim Ansari
Salim Ansari
5 years ago

My number 321456 auction value of no plate

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