Yesterday I bought a new car, and in order to drive it in Shanghai you need to buy license plates for it. Because so many people are buying cars here nowadays, these are quite scarce. Each month the government allocates a certain quota of new plates, and then there is an auction once a month where you can bid on them.
The auction was coincidentally also yesterday, and we participated in it. You have to submit a price between 9 AM and 3 AM by mobile phone, and the top bidders will get the plates. Because I did not want to run the risk of not getting a plate, our dealer helped us to estimate the winning price. At 2:40 PM he told us we would surely get the plate if we would bit a little over RMB 38000. And that worked: we paid RMB 38300 for a license plate, just RMB 600 over the lowest winning bid of RMB 37700. I love how things work in this country!