The 'King of Barbecued Squid' gave the economy a sizzling vote of confidence yesterday by paying a world-beating price to rent a Lunar New Year market stall in Victoria Park. Mr Siu - who would not give his full name - shelled out $450,000 to rent the 393 sq ft stall to sell his Korean barbecued squid and other snacks during the seven-day fair. He was joined by his wife - the 'Queen of Barbecued Squid' - who led the bidding. The rent of $163.72 per sq ft a day works out to $4,911 per sq ft a month - more than 13 times the average monthly rent of $369 per sq ft for retail space in Causeway Bay, which last month was rated the third most expensive in the world. The rent on a 40 sq ft shop in Cannon Street, believed to be the most expensive in Causeway Bay, is $70,000 per month, or about $1,750 per sq ft. And ground floor shops in the prime area of New York City's Fifth Avenue, the most expensive in the world, rent for an average $617 per sq ft a month. Mr Siu - who earned his nickname because of the popularity of his wares at previous fairs - paid $350,000 last year for the same stall, which is near the park's Sugar Street exit. He said he had expected to pay up to $500,000 and was sure his investment would pay off. 'I'm very confident about it because the economy is getting better and there are more mainland travellers visiting,' he said. The Lunar New Year Fair will run from February 3 to 9. Mr Siu will also offer fishballs and drinks - and he needs to sell a lot of them. His $450,000 rent translates into 2,250kg of squid at $20 for 100 grams, 360,000 fishballs at $10 for eight, or 56,250 soft drinks at $8 per can. Less happy with the prices was William Li Ching-wun, who last year was able to pick up two smaller fast-food stalls near Tin Hau MTR station for $120,000. This year he dropped out of the bidding when one of the stalls went for $246,000 before taking the other at $191,000. 'The stalls are too expensive,' said Mr Li, who has run stalls at the fair for the past five years. 'I bid for the big one, but the price went up too high ... and I actually think the one that I got, at $190,000, is also expensive. But if I didn't bid for it, I wouldn't get any stall this year.' Seven years ago he paid $400,000 for the stall rented this year by Mr Siu and said that was also too expensive. 'It was so difficult to break even back then,' he said. Despite his dissatisfaction, Mr Li is confident he will make a profit selling snacks and drinks and will donate part of the money to social groups that help troubled teenagers. He said he would also hire some of the troubled young people to help out at the stall. The auction of 180 wet-goods stalls raised $3.55 million. The auction of the fair's 300 dry- goods stalls will be held today.