Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Come to Beijing, But Don’t Drive- Getting a License Plate in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on June 26, 2011


Beijing has quite a few roads, but tons of cars. The problem is that this place was designed with the idea of a pudgy little emperor to be carried around on a 32 man rickshaw, not 2 million people driving gasoline powered autos. (actually the ancient capos or mafia dons of China’s past did travel on rickshaws that were carried from either 2 to 32 men).

Anyway…Chinese want cars because the subways are filled with , well filled with Chinese and so to be different, they need an escape. The rave now is to get a car, but it’s not as easy as one may hope. For instance, in civilized countries one buys a car, slaps on a plate and voila, they are mobile, but not here. Here in China there is money to be made in every transaction so there is an actual quota for license plates. I dont know how much of this has to do with passing of red notes to expedite the process, but I have my suspicions. In any event, in Beijing 577,856 qualified candidates competed for a monthly quota of a paltry 17600 license plates. This means that you have a better chance of finding a straight politician in this town then getting permission to drive…..lots of luck…

3 Responses to “Come to Beijing, But Don’t Drive- Getting a License Plate in China”

  1. Daniel Bos said

    Have you seen the roads lately? In the morning and evening rush it takes three times as long to reach any place than it does on a Sunday afternoon… There are just too many cars in Beijing, and that with less than one in ten people owning a car. Imagine how traffic would like like if that would rise to, say, one in five (this is not inconceivable, without the current limitations it would take about three years to double the number of cars on the roads). Beijing would literally be one large parking lot. I expect it would probably take a day to go from east to west on Chang’an street!

    • wtdevflnt said

      DB you are sounding Chinese…. Hmm yeah too many people, too many cars. How about they do like Sao Paolo, one day on one day off or something like that. If this were to come to pass they could double the cars without the traffic, but then again the rich already have cars, so let the middle class suffer.

      • Daniel Bos said

        They already have a system where you’re not allowed to drive your car basically two days a week, so what do you think happened after that? Right, people just bought a second car to drive on the off days!

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