Buy second hand car in Beijing



For those having their Chinese driving license and lucky enough to obtain a plate number from the Beijing lottery, buying a second hand car can be an option when not willing to buy a brand new car – depreciation is about 10% per year. However you need to be aware that the second hand market for cars in China is not as developed as in Western countries:

  • first of all Chinese government doesn’t encourage the second hand market in order to maintain a pool of new cars, supposed to pollute less than old ones;
  • then, it is not like back in Western countries, where you can buy second hand car from the official brand dealer and where you are offered a few month guarantee…
    • Only few 4S shops are offering second hand car and they make you pay for it: about 20% more expensive than the second hand market price, but you can better trust the quality of the car.
    • In Beijing, you can buy second hand cars in markets, but it is very difficult to trust the vendors: accidents, kilometres, even year of … 

However the market is changing and Gasgoo reported last February that “the demand of second-hand car will be higher than new car in 2015“.

What are the important things to check when buying a second hand car in China?

 Besides on-site check, you should ask for:
– Vehicle configuration
– Year of license plate
–  Kilometers shown on meter(it can be changed easily, so you  can’t trust it )
– Previous usage (company/individual)
– how many times the car was transferred
– Insurance validity period
– Vehicle inspection deadline

Second hand vehicles markets in Beijing

You can have many options for comparison one time and close the deal there. The market management shall guarantee the deal can be cancelled within 3 days after the sale contract is signed in case of any car issues. And some markets start to apply payment supervision by the management for 3 days. The market doesn’t provide automotive inspection service for the buyers.

Visiting the second hand car market is the best way to find a proper vehicle in Beijing.

1. Hua Xiang old car sales market
Address: 南四环花乡桥往西路北
2. Zhonglian old car sales market
Address: 海淀区昆明湖南路52号
3. Jing Nan old car sales market
Address: 马家楼桥东南角
4. Dong Fang old car sales market
Address: 北京市朝阳区姚家园路东口甲1号
5. Ya Yun Cun old car sales market
Address: 天通苑向北2公里立汤路东侧



Websites to check in order to get an idea of the price for the car brand / model you are looking for:

Websites in English will offer you 3 types of cars: local cars (you’d better check he below websites), expat cars (in some ways, you could consider you can trust better the information) and diplomatic cars. For this last category, if you are not yourself holder of a diplomatic plate, you will need to pay the tax (not applicable to diplomats).

Websites are only in Chinese, so you’d better seeking the help of a colleague to search for your vehicle… Google Chrome users may be able to read the information thanks to instant translation. 

Some websites offer vehicle inspection consultancy  for free of charge during the purchasing process. There are not many car  owners registered, mostly second hand car shops and you need to reach the place where the vehicle is available. Quite time consuming and again not so safe as nobody will tell you if the car had crash or any other issue.


How to transfer your plate on a second hand vehicle for expatriates?

You will need to gather the following pieces to transfer the ownership of the vehicle:

  • Original and copy of the ID documents of the vehicle owner (if  foreigner, includes passport and residence permit)
  • Original vehicle registration card 
  • Original title
  • License plates
  • If the vehicle is imported, the original document from the customs (release)
  • Original and copy of the ownership of the invoice issued by the second hand car market


  1. Prerequisite:To be qualified to buy: 
    Local driving license
    To have a car purchase approval paper issued by the Traffic administration bureau
  2. Purchase a car purchase and complete the deal info registration in the market management bureau. The buyer can ask the seller to help finish the paperwork and registration included in the price.
  3. Automobile inspection in Shenghua Vehicle Detection. Address: 朝阳区王四营
  4. Car registration license at Beijing Vehicle Administration Department for Expats. Address: 北京市朝阳区南四环东路18号(十八里店南桥附近). There, you will choose a new plate number.
  5. Purchase traffic compulsory insurance and commercial insurance for the car.



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About Marketing

I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!