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A parking space in Hong Kong just sold for almost US$1m

[HONG KONG] If anyone needed further evidence of Hong Kong's sky-high real estate prices they found it this week with news that a car parking spot sold for almost US$1 million.

The space went for HK$7.6 million (S$1.3 million), making it the most expensive place to park an automobile in the city, and perhaps anywhere in the world. The seller was Johnny Cheung Shun-yee, a businessman with a reputation for flipping property. He made around HK$900 million last year in about nine months by buying and selling floors in an office building.

The car-parking spot is actually in the same building - The Center in Central, which also happens to be the priciest office tower in the world. For the cost of the parking space, you could buy a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

"A lot of those owners in The Center are in finance or in other high-growth businesses," said Stanley Poon, a managing director at Centaline Commercial. "To these tycoons, it's not a significant purchase if you compare it to the value of the office floors they own."

The jaw-dropping price is also another illustration of the gap in Hong Kong between the ultra rich and ordinary people. That income inequality has fuelled violent protests that have rocked the city for months now and show no sign of stopping.

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Hong Kong's Gini coefficient was the most for any developed economy in 2016 at a 45-year high, and for all the luxury and glamour, one in five residents live below the poverty line.

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