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China's private car ownership jumps 16 pct in six months
Updated: 2007-07-04 13:45

BEIJING -- More than 13 million cars in China were privately owned by the end of June, up 16 percent over the end of last year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

"The growth rate of private car ownership decreased 0.96 percent from the same period last year," according to the ministry's traffic administration.

The number of motor vehicles rose to 152 million, up 5.2 percent from the end of last year, and almost 90 percent were cars and motorcycles. Up to 75.4 percent of vehicles were privately owned, up 5.1 percent, the ministry says.

The number of car drivers exceeded 100 million, up 5.7 percent, and 82 percent of them were aged 26 to 50.

The number of inexperienced drivers also went up, with 36.6 percent of Chinese car drivers driving less then three years and 9.4 percent less than a year.

China, once known as the kingdom of bicycles, has overtaken Japan to become the world's second largest auto market after the United States.

Beijing has 2.97 million cars. That number is expected to exceed 3.3 million by the time of the Olympic Games next summer.

At least 1 million parking spaces were needed to cope with the capital's rising car numbers, a Chinese political advisor suggested during a plenary meeting of the country's political advisory body in March.
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