Shanghai Road Signs Cost 40,000 RMB Each

From NetEase:

A National Highway centralized numbering and naming system is gradually being carried out, and Shanghai is one of the cities where this is currently happening. It is reported that Shanghai needs to replace about 5,000 signs, but the whole project will cost 200 million yuan.


The huge cost lead to Han Han, who is a writer and race car driver, to question the plans. On October 15, Sichuan News Network reported Han Han’s sarcastic comment of “a sheet of iron costs 40,000 RMB”. Shanghai Highway Management Department responded that the number of street signs to be replaced is far more than 5,000. Many signs are being updated when they are replaced.

In Shanghai, both street signs and license plates cost thousands of RMB

In Shanghai, according to media reports, the deputy leader of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau Traffic Police Corps, Zuo Tianfu said, in order to be in line with the updates, there will be about 5,000 guideposts that need to be changed. Including the replacement of highway signs, the expense of the renaming and renumbering project will reach 200 million RMB.

Han Han published the post “G8 highway” on his blog, and said that “every sheet of iron costs 40,000RMB. Does it sound familiar?

Yes, it’s the same price of the iron sheet on your cars [Note: In Shanghai, vehicle license plates are obtained by auction. It’s normal that each license plate costs thousands of RMB]. This shows that, for so many years, Shanghai’s car-owners were actually unfair to the Shanghai government. Do you think this is extortion? No, the 40,000 is the cost of raw materials. Otherwise, the Shanghai government would not charge the same amount of money for their own iron sheets.”

A netizen on the XCar website said,” A spray painted metal sign for 40,000RMB. Farmed out to me, I would only charge 20,000 each. ” This comment lead to a price competition on line. “Lou zhu you are too greedy, I would laugh to death if they would pay me 10,000 each”, “Give me 8,000, and I will kickback 2,000”, “6000 each, a lifetime guarantee”… …

The most expensive quoted price from suppliers is 1,000 RMB every square meter.

In many Shanghai forums, Han Han’s post has become really popular. Most people agree with his views:” Highway projects are so dark [questionable, shady].” “These signs are so valuable? If so, I won’t go to work anymore. I will steal road signs.” Besides Shanghai,  everywhere in the country, they are gradually replacing road signs. According to reports, Foshan, Guangdong province “estimated that the number of the road signs which need to be replaced would be between 2,000 and 3,000, and cost about 5 million RMB or more”. According to the report, the cost is far lower than 40,000 RMB for each sign.

The reporter found some road sign suppliers from Zhejiang, and Shanghai and consulted their prices. The other side responded that the price of the highway signs with the highest quality is between 850 and 1,000 RMB per square meter. To judge from the news pictures, in Shanghai, the size of the signs is about 2 to 5 square meters.

The reporter also found an invitation of tender from a Suzhou City government for road signs. The quoted price relates to not only the construction cost, but also auxiliary materials, accessories, delivery, labor, machinery, storage, installation, insurance, design fees, supervision fees, labor insurance, various taxes and fees (for example imported products should include tariffs), patent technology, all the charges in the warranty period, and so on.

The official response from the Highway Management Office: There are more than 5,000 signs.

About the number of the signs, a Shanghai Highway Administration official said, the point that “each sign cost 40,000 RMB” in Han Han’s blog is wrong. Because the 200 million RMB will not be spent on the 5,000 signs as Han Han said. In fact, the replacement of the signs is a large and complex system project. The 5,000 signs mentioned in Han Han’s blog only refer to the road signs between Shanghai urban districts and highways, which need to be changed. It only takes into account a small part of the project. In fact, the number of the signs which will be changed, in the entire highway, is much more than that amount.

To update all related signs includes all the highway traffic signs, especially the guiding signs, such as entrance notice signs, entrance signs, start (end) point markers, exit notice signs, exit signs, distance signs, services/facilities notice signs, toll station notice signs, etc.; adjusting the highway mileposts, as well as changing the name of toll stations and so on. In addition to the replacement of road signs, but also in accordance with national standards to re-design and re-brand, and some key signs of the basis for reinforcement, protection, handling, etc., involving a wide range of human and material resources.

Read more: Han Han’s original Chinese post “G8 Highway“, and his response to “a large and complex system project“.

Comments from NetEase:


China’s corrupt officials’ way of money-laundering.


Look at Foshan’s 3000 signs only cost 5 million. How can this kind of government discipline boost GDP? In the end, it’s still Shanghai that is most niu, able to turn 5000 metal plates into 200 milllion GDP.


In fact, I think Han Han being able to survive until now is already pretty good, and this is our [society’s] greatest progress.


So this is how the money is spent, I’m speechless.


I bet they are pure gold road signs!


Without construction, how could there be kickbacks?


They’re all a bunch of JB, using/taking the ordinary common people’s money.


If the 200 million RMB is not being used to replace only 5,000 signs as Han Han understood, then just how many signs are being replaced? 5,100?


Written by jessie


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