BEIJING -- Every bike produced in China will have a number engraved on it to deter thieves and help trace it if it is stolen.
All bike manufacturers in China will have to number their products and print the numbers on them from December 1, to prevent rampant bike theft, according to a government circular.
Bicycle manufacturers can begin to apply for codes from October 21. All the codes will be issued for free, the circular said.
Bicycle dealers are required to record the numbers of the bikes and basic information of the customers, which will be handed to local governments, the circular said.
The circular was 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.
Known as the "bicycle kingdom", China is home to 470 million bicycles. Almost four million bikes, including 700,000 electric bikes, are stolen every year in China, costing bike owners a collective two billion yuan (US$267 million).
China launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on bicycle theft in the first half of this year. More than 393,000 stolen bicycles were recovered by police from March to June 15, and about 195,000 were returned to their owners.