a. First go to pay for right to bid (2000RMB), and get documents including password to login
b. Bid online – 2nd or 3rd Saturday of each month, and bid process is insane and difficult, don’t even ask how it works, but it’s highly likely you won’t be successful since you have limited number of bids and they’re time constrained! (Why? I don’t know!) They usually allow 5000-9000 license plates each month – amount appears to be random.
c. Finally win bid, move to step 2
2. Take your documents and go to payment place – have to pay by that Friday.
a. Way over in different half of city, down a block off major road, have to walk 300 or 400 meters to get there. Large room where you pay your 5-6K USD, probably mostly people pay in cash, and then they give you more documents (certificate saying you paid, and some smart card, again, who knows why).
a. First go to building, get a number and wait. Number gets called, show them your docs, they do something and give you another number.
c. Wait, get up when no. called, and they take your proof or something and give you new documents – no idea why.
4. Drive to another building, get in line of cars, and go in with your documents and take another number
a. First have to get rub of VIN number from inside your hood (dealer w/ me had already done that before we left dealership, but other people were actively doing it there) – apparently license plate is tied to VIN of your car.
b. Call you up – here they verify it really is you and I guess get VIN info, checking face and documents, and store a huge number of Xeroxes of passport and work permit and so forth.
5. Drive to another building, this with a ton of people in it watching numbers (available license plate numbers, and numbers up for people to be helped) on big bulletin board. Take your number, wait for an hour. Btw, bathrooms were nearby at back on both sides of room... and they stunk!
a. Finally call your number, you take a piece of paper to a row of machines. Machines show you all the license plate numbers currently available. You hit “OK” and it randomly picks 6 of those numbers for you to choose from. You pick one, and that’s your license plate number. Spits out new piece of paper.
b. Take that paper to lady in an equipment cage, she finds your already made license plate number and hands it to you.
6. That is not it! You can’t put it on your car yet… SO….
a. Go out to parking lot, have to flag down helpers walking around in parking lot. They take license plate and TAPE it to front of car, then take picture of it, then remove it and hand over new number (or something). Have to stand in line to get picture eventually, which goes with registration document that stays in car
7. Finally, we are done and are the proud owners of a shiny new license plate. At this point, we can finally get after market additions applied to the car -> no modifications were allowed until license plate was done for yet another who knows why sort of reason…