Beijing’s license plate raffle system has made car purchasing expensive and difficult. For would-be drivers in need of a quick solution, the city has developed a booming – and illegal – market in license plate rental.
An elderly man surnamed Yang in Tiantongyuan, Changping District recognized the market potential when his age brought him access to free public transportation.
Yang sold his car and applied for a new license plate with the intention of renting it to other drivers.
Yang said a Beijing license plate rents for between 12,000 to 13,000 yuan per year. Five people in Yang’s family are in the queue to apply for license plates.
At a license plate agency in Fengtai District, the manager encouraged Beijing Youth Daily reporters to rent their unused license plates. The manager said most plates are rented by people with Beijing hukou who have been unable to win a plate in the raffle.
The agency provides contracts for the license plate user and owner and keeps records of use.
Nevertheless, the service is illegal.
A spokesperson for the Beijing Vehicle Administration Office said renting license plates is forbidden. Wang Zongwei, a lawyer at Beijing Jingshi Law Firm, said such private contracts are not protected by law. In the case of a serious traffic accident, both parties will bear responsibility, he said.