Bike manufactures can apply for codes starting October 21. Starting December 1, bike manufactures must print numbers on bikes. Bike shops must record the bike number and "basic information" when bikes are sold, and hand that information over to local government. That's according to a circular jointly released by the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Commerce, the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. That's a lot of government departments that really care about bikes.
There are editorials that wonder if numbering bikes will solve the theft of problem, will just lead to a bike tax and whether if it infringes on personal property rights. There are 470 million bikes in China and 4 million bikes (including 700,000 electric bikes) stolen every year, a loss to the bikers of 2 billion yuan ($267 million). From March to June, of the 393,000 stolen bikes recovered by the police, only about half were returned to owners. The new numbering system should make that process a lot easier. So, for future reference, if you want to buy a bike in China, don't forget your ID.
[Source: China Daily]