Since about 2009 there has been a major problem in China with people using fake number plates on their cars. These illegal plates are made in workshops around the country and look almost exactly like the real thing.
There are many reasons why the Chinese like these illegal plates:
Taxi drivers use them as they are either unable to get licenses for their vehicles due to the near state monopoly on taxis, their vehicles are unroadworthy and they could not get a license or they are just crooks out to spend as little as possible to make money using fake meters and fake license plates.
Some people like to use military plates as the police are not allowed to stop them and they will never have to pay traffic fines.
People with stolen and smuggled cars have no way of getting legal registrations.
With fake license plates drivers will never have to pay speeding fines or parking fines.
More recently, the price of registrations has become very, very high in the cities and may cost more than the car itself.
The problem is very widespread and tens of thousands of illegal registrations (and the vehicles they are on) are seized and destroyed every year in China. Do a web search for ‘counterfeit Chinese license plates’ or similar and you will be amazed.
There is one Ebay seller who has found these illegal plate shops and is now selling quite a lot of mint Chinese plates. See the next photo for details. Mint genuine Chinese plates just do not exist for collectors.
These are some of the many mint plates that coolcc515 (aka tagsrus-ed) from Georgia in the USA is selling and he advertises them mostly as being mint, unused. The reason, he says, is that he has connections to the police and they are selling some to him illegally from the back door of the registration office. He says he also has the matching brass official seals for them but they have never been fitted.
In early 2014 he started selling similar unused foreigner owned vehicle plates and plates used only inside factories and other locations off public roads.
I will leave it to you to decide if you are happy to buy illegal license plates.