SHANGHAI, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Prices of new license plates in Shanghai hit a record high in May as demand for private cars in the city has been growing despite local government controls on vehicle registration.
In the monthly auction ending at noon on Saturday, the average bid for a plate was 64,367 yuan (more than 10,000 U.S. dollars), about 2,700 yuan higher than the April average, according to official data.
The lowest individual bid was 64,000 yuan, 3,000 yuan higher than last month's equivalent.
Auction records had been broken more than 10 times since the beginning of 2011. The average plate price has increased by more than 2,000 yuan every month since the beginning of this year.
In an effort to curb the rising prices, the government released 9,300 new license plates in May, also a record high and 800 more than in April.
However, the increase in the number of plates released has not matched rising demand for cars.
A total of 24,230 individuals registered in the auction this month, and only 38.3 percent got a license plate.
China is now the world's largest auto market and many of its big cities are struggling with recurring gridlock and other traffic-related problems.
Shanghai is the only Chinese city to use an auction to control plate supply. Beijing has imposed a cap on the number of plates issued each month and introduced a lottery system to distribute them among aspirant buyers.