The number plate a Dubai man paid $12 million to own

Balwinder Sahni with his 33 million dirham number plate (Twitter)
Balwinder Sahni with his 33 million dirham number plate (Twitter)

A single-digit licence plate is such a status symbol in the United Arab Emirates that a man paid a whopping NZ$12.5 million for one.

Dubai property developer Balwinder Sahni bid 33 million dirhams at a government auction for the in-demand plate which simply bears the number '5'.

It's not the first time the wealthiest in the Middle East have shelled out on the highly coveted low number plates, with an Abu Dhabi businessman spending over NZ$19 million on one in 2008.

Sahni said he has gotten a lot of attention for the purchase, which he sees as a way of "giving back" to the city.

"It's hard, people giving comments without knowing the type of person I am," he told CNNMoney, describing himself as "a simple man".

The single-digit license plate now has pride of place on one of six Rolls Royce cars.

Sahni said he liked to give himself a gift every year as a reward for working hard.

Newshub.