TIME United Arab Emirates

A Guy in Dubai Spent $9 Million on a License Plate for His Rolls-Royce

Emirati high-rollers are spending big on personalized license plates

Dubai-based Indian property developer Balwinder Sahni considers himself “a simple man” — his two Rolls-Royce cars with single digit license plates not withstanding.

According to the Independent, Sahni paid $9 million during a government auction for a highly coveted number “5” license plate. He is one of several high-rollers in the United Arab Emirates dolling out large sums of cash for single digit license plates.

This isn’t even Sahni’s first. According to CNN, he spent $6.7 million to obtain a number “9” plate in a government auction last year.

Although, Sahni’s payments are quite large, they pale in comparison to the $14 million an Abu Dhabi businessman paid at a charity auction for a license plate baring the number “1” in 2008.

For Sahni, the money he spends is a form of charity—in a country with no income tax—he sees his contribution to the UAE government auctions as a public service.

“I believe in giving back,” he told CNN. “This city has given me a lot.”

A secondary market has also emerged to satisfy the desire of rich Emiratis looking to get their hands on unique license plates.

One such website, numbers.ae, sold a two digit plate for $735,000—its biggest deal yet. (At the time of writing, the website has a number “8” plate listed for an undisclosed sum.)

The website’s co-founder Abdulkerim Arsanov hopes to capitalize on this renewed interest in luxury license plates with hopes to expand into markets in the U.S. and Russia.

“Number plates have become more luxurious than the cars themselves,” Arsanov told CNN.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team