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A Third of China’s Potential Car Buyers Reside in Just Eighteen Cities

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Given its 6 million plus vehicles in circulation, it is no wonder that Beijing has implemented an outright ban on specific cars (based on their registered number plate) driving into the city centre on certain days, working on a rotational basis. However, the vehicle parc of Beijing now accounts for less than 6% of the total number of vehicles in use in China and similar plans are therefore being considered in other major cities suffering from similar issues.

Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles in Use in 5 Chinese Cities, 2012

Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles in Use in 5 Chinese Cities, 2012

Source: Euromonitor International

In terms of new registrations, the China Statistical Yearbook reports that 400,000 civil vehicles were registered in Beijing 2011; just 2.5% of the 16.2 million civil vehicles recorded nationally. Considering the strong relationship between passenger vehicle sales and household incomes, it comes as little surprise that Shanghai and Beijing top the ranking of Chinese cities with homes that have an annual disposable income of at least US$10,000 - with 7.8 and 7.3 million households respectively in 2013. However, there are actually 18 cities with more than a million such households in 2013, adding up to 52 million dwellings in total – a third of the 156 million qualifying homes across China.

Households with Annual Disposable Income >US$10,000, Millions, 2013

Households with Annual Disposable Income more than US$10,000, Millions, 2013


Source: Euromonitor International

Euromonitor has household incomes data for a further 43 Chinese cities, i.e. 61 in total, which amount to 76.5 million households with ADI over US$10k in 2013 and thus almost a half of all qualifying Chinese households. Interestingly, the growth projection for these homes between 2013 and 2020 in both Shanghai and Beijing is significantly lower than the national average. In fact, the household incomes data suggests that new registrations of passenger vehicles will climb at a faster rate in 43 other cities than in Beijing and in 54 other cities than in Shanghai. The top five ranking cities in these terms are Linyi, Hefei, Changzhou, Shenyang and Chengdu.

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