Driving into the Lottery of Beijing Bureaucracy

Driving into Beijing Bureaucracy

The Beijing Government at the end of 2010 put in place a monthly and annual quota system for the issuance of car license plates. Applications received during a particular month would be vetted, and successful applicants would then take part in a monthly lottery for the plates. Unsuccessful applicants would automatically be placed in the following month’s lottery.

 Those who are automatically qualified to apply include:

·         Chinese nationals who possess a Beijing household registry (“Hukou”) or other form of permanent residence permits in Beijing

·         Foreigners and residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao who have resided in Beijing for at least one year with valid permits (no tax proof required).

·         Chinese nationals who possess temporary residence permits in Beijing and who have paid individual income tax or social insurance locally for the past five consecutive years


In addition, applicants need to possess a valid Chinese driver’s license and not have any car(s) already registered under his/her name. Existing car owners who wish to replace their old vehicles will be automatically given new car plates and not have to take part in the lot-drawing. Buyers of used cars would still have to apply for new license plates. Even newer measures, that are to be put in place in July, will force successful license plate lottery winners to purchase a car within 6 weeks. All plates that go unused will be revoked and returned to the lottery.


The impact of these measures to AustCham members are:

·         Foreign employees (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao residents) who have resided in Beijing for over one year may apply, but need to take part in the lottery. So there’s no guarantee as to when they would be able to get actually get license plates after the first year.

·         As the quota also applies to car leasing companies, such companies would face similar difficulty procuring new vehicles for lease. Thus new car (and to a lesser extent used car) rentals are expected to increase.


For those people brave enough to face Beijing Roads on a scooter or a Motor Bike, anything with an engine of 50cc or under does not require a license, nor a license plate. You can get your Bike ‘registered’ and have registration plates issued, but this is not entirely mandatory.


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