Beijing's first car number plate lottery clogged with applicants

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 12:00am

Hu Xiufeng looked confident when she walked out of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, where the capital's first lottery for new-car registrations was held.

Among the hundreds of thousands of car buyers, she was lucky enough to be selected as one of the eight applicant representatives to attend the lottery yesterday.

More importantly, her family needs just one car, but all three family members applied, which gave them a better chance.

'I've been very lucky recently, and I think I will win the lottery,' she said. 'I'm going home now to check the winners.'

About one of every 11 applicants was awarded a number plate in Beijing's first lottery. A total of 17,600 applicants were awarded plates, a monthly cap for private cars so that Beijing can slash its growth in vehicle population by two-thirds compared with last year.

Broadcast live on TV and the internet, the lottery was attended by representatives of applicants, deputies to the municipal People's Congress, political advisers, statistics experts and officials to show openness, fairness and equity - the three principles transport authorities promised.

The results were published online 25 minutes after the lottery. Hu's good luck did not continue, and neither her husband nor daughter won either, which means they have to wait until next month's lottery.

'The whole process seemed fair and transparent,' she said, adding the only problem was whether it would be conducted the same way in the following months.

Sun Wenjian, head of the transport commission's publicity department, refused to discuss whether representatives and media would be invited to future lotteries to be held on the 26th of each month.

According to rules, lottery winners must complete new car registration within six months.

The rules allow only 240,000 new cars to be registered this year, compared with the record 800,000 vehicles that were added to Beijing's clogged roads last year.

Eighty-eight per cent of the number plates available each month go to individuals, 10 per cent to government vehicles and the rest to Beijing businesses and organisations.