The Beijing municipal government on Saturday said it received nearly 40,000 online applications for car licence plates in the first 11 hours of the new year, as new traffic-control measures took effect.
The measure limits the number of new car licence plates to be issued in 2011 to 240,000, or one-third of the number issued in 2010.
From zero hour on January 1, car buyers in Beijing will be chosen by draw of lots from applicants.
Private car buyers will receive 88 per cent, or 17,600 plates per month on average, of the city's new licence plates. Those who are not selected in one month will be automatically included in the following month's draw.
As of 11 a.m. on Saturday, the website for applications had successfully accepted 36,138 applications, said an official with the city's transportation committee.
Netizens believe the traffic-control measures are the “toughest congestion-tackling measures in history”.