How Car Annual Checking Works

It is a hot day – 27 degrees, and Hangzhou seems to enter Summer already. I am back – very tired. The 170+ km express way is not easy to cover. Next time I go to Hangzhou, I won’t drive – bus or train is a better choice – so I can enjoy the nice scene of Hangzhou without the frustration on the crowded road.

My car is registered in Hangzhou. From considering to get a car, to I finally get one, the car plate in Shanghai raise from 38500 RMB to 43000 RMB. So I chose the much cheaper solution – to register in Hangzhou. (Later, the Shanghai car plate price once dropped to 21001 RMB). The pro side is, it is much cheaper. The con is, I need to go to Hangzhou for the annual checking. Although there are many agents who are willing to do it for me, I hate to give my car to someone I don’t know. So I used the weekend to drive there.

The Place

The place is not easy to find. They moved from the old place, from Hanghai Road, to the other side of the Qiantang River.

The Qian Bridge No. 3 was closed for construction. The added additional difficulty to find the place. When I am there, it is already 3:10 PM.

It is Closed

When I got to the window, they told me they do not accept new applications already. Their business hour is 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. There are still one hour and 20 minutes left, but they refused to take my application. The parking lot is near empty. It seems the only way to get examined is to come the next day.

There is Always Workaround

At the entrance to the office, there is a “car club”. We stepped in. A woman was practicing Chinese typing at her computer. I asked is she able to help us on the exam. She said “sure”.

We gave her 100 RMB for the service. She went to the same counter, send it in. Very soon, some official came out and drove my car in. 5 minutes later, I got all my documents stamped, and I passed the exam.

This is the typical way government collect money – to close the office early or setup enough difficulty, so people need to go to agents (commercial organization), to get something – like visa, permission, certificates, or license. Since the government is not allowed to directly get any money from citizen, they can leverage a commercial partner to collect the money by providing priority service to the agents. People pay the agents to get better service. The money can be used as “activity fund” for the employees.

This is the only way I can find to explain why they don’t accept application but the office 100 meters away accept it.

Disclaimer: Only the fact part of this article is confirmed. The how it works and behind scene part is my guess based what someone told me.

7 thoughts on “How Car Annual Checking Works

  1. dezza

    is it even legal to register your car in another city? or is this a form of 走后门so prevalent in china?

    in canada, if someone did this and the insurance company he/she had discovered this, they wouldn’t be covered for insurance.

  2. Neil

    The car plate that you are talking about, how does it work ? Pardon my ignorance.

    In Singapore, we have this Certificate of Entitlement (COE) thing, the method the government regulates car numbers in Singapore, typically prices for this COE is between S$8000 – S$15000, though it used to be S$30000 sometime back.

    Is it something similar and used for the same purposes, regulation of car numbers ?

  3. chghby

    I totally agree with you. Many things have to be done in this way. Sometimes it is unfair to ordinary people. But you have to. I thought itmaybe it is better in sourtheast china because it is the frontier of opening-up policy. Now I know all the same in china. I am in Harbin. Here these things happen everyday and everywhere. All the goverment organs including administrations for industry and commerce, development and reform commission, department of commerce, they don’t have any service consciousness.

    That is for reference only.

  4. ZZ

    Just got my visa renewed, I was given only 1 month F-visa with all the paper work that in HK or abroad would yield up to 2 year multiple entry F-visa. If I’d gone to one of the “travel agencies” in Shanghai I would have got any lenght and any type by paying several hundred rmb extra. The catch is that as a dual citizen I will start using the second passport after I go out of China for 2 months so it it’s ok, just a bit extra work.

    Foreigners are suffering similar poor treatment and service, and occasional hr violations as the locals so I can definitely relate to being a Chinese person that feels like an ant in a ant colony.

  5. lucy

    Same in south China. I’m in Shenzhen.When i registered for my company last year, also need to akk reference help me ,because they do it more easy and quickly,i have to pay extro money to them so i can deal with it less trouble.

    this is the speacial sence in china, we hate it,but most of us receipt and sometimes enjoyed it

  6. Jet So

    In Beijing, they have rolls & rolls of people lined up at the local auto registration branch and hassle you enough paperwork during the inspection so that you can’t help but hire an agent’s help! Even then, the agent & their accomplices inside the bureau would try to weasel a hundred kuai more if they note that you’re not a 本地人. This exercise cost us a good 400. Next time, we’re going through the ol’ 关系 route with our friendly neighbourhood mechanic instead …

    Note to Dezza: Something tells me a shared centralised database of car owners and their driving records between the insurers and the authorities don’t exist (or hasn’t been fully implemented) to date. That’s why locals can so conveniently flip to another insurer if their existing one wants to raise their rates.

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