They make Toyotas in Guangzhou. And Hondas. And Nissans. It’s a major car manufacturing center. But it will soon be more difficult for people here to own cars themselves.
Keith Bradsher of the New York Times reports that the city is significantly cutting back on the number of new cars it licenses. The goal is to ease traffic jams and cut down on air pollution. Local governments in Beijing and Shanghai already limit the number of new license plates issued.
Some people are expressing concerns over the “fairness and validity” of Guangzhou’s policy, according to Xinhuanet, an English language website based in China that identifies itself as ”an important information organ of the central government.” The limited number of new license plates are being given out by lottery and through auctions. Xinhuanet reports that the average bid for a new license plate last week was 22,822 yuan. That’s $3,623! At this month’s auction in Shanghai, the average bid was nearly three times as high—62,559 yuan, the site says.
To put those numbers in perspective, the average salary for “non-private sector workers” in Guangzhou was only 57, 473 yuan or $9,052, according to a recent report in China Daily. And Guangzhou had the highest salaries of the cities surveyed.