Guangzhou's 10-year limit on licence plates sparks concern

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 5:18pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 6:17pm

An extension on the expiry of licence plates in Guangzhou to a decade came under scrutiny this week after it was criticised for contradicting current policies in place and being too short.

Guangzhou officials released a consultation paper on Saturday outlining revisions to its current system of distributing licence plates, which included a proposal to allow unlimited reuse of plates. 

But under the new policy change, private car owners will have to re-enter the city-wide plate lottery or auction for a new licence plate after a 10 year period – part of a wider effort by many major cities across the nation to curb traffic congestion and air pollution as a result of soaring private car numbers.

Some industry experts suggested this was akin to forcing car owners to get rid of their cars after 10 years.

“This is basically equivalent to telling a car owner he has to scrap his car in 10 years. This contradicts the government’s recent policy to cancel the mandatory limit on scrapping a car,” automotive industry expert Jin Xinguang told the China National Radio (CNR).

Many car owners are calling for an extension of the 10 year period to 20 years and a more efficient lottery and auction system for distributing licence plates, the report said.

The city government imposed an annual quota of 120,000 new licence plates last year. In June, a limit on the number of out-of-town vehicles allowed into the city is also expected to come into effect.

Guangzhou uses both an auction and lottery system to distribute licence plates. Other cities in China that limit the number of new vehicles include Beijing, which uses a monthly lottery, and Shanghai, where successful bids can often exceeded 80,000 yuan (HK$101,400).