Beijing's efforts to strictly curb population growth have boosted the black market trade in hukou, permanent residency permits.
Though illegal, there is a thriving market. The municipality's reduction of the number of permits granted to non-locals - one-third less than the roughly 10,000 issued to college graduates last year - has led to a price surge.
Advertisements and information about hukou vendors can be found on almost every search engine and on university Internet bulletin boards in Beijing.
Most claim that they can help new graduates get a Beijing hukou for 150,000 to 300,000 yuan ($23,200 to $46,400). Some posts even offer deals to people of any age and educational background.
"Hukou, especially Beijing hukou, are scarce and the government has a very strict access system," said Yuan Xin, a professor at Tianjin-based Nankai University's Population and Development Institute. "People who consider taking a chance and buying one need to be alert to fraud."
"There are only three quotas left. People who need it have to hurry up. Each for 180,000 yuan. People who want a discount please do not call," reads a notice on search engine Baidu's posting forum.
Pretending to buy hukou for a younger brother, a China Daily reporter telephoned a hukou vendor who promised to help her obtain hukou in Hujialou, Chaoyang district, Beijing. The man, who gave only a surname, Zhang, asked for 180,000 yuan.
"It's not the first time I sell hukou quota," he said. "As long as you follow my instruction, I guarantee you can get a real Beijing hukou within two months. The hukou will affiliate to State-owned companies under the National Development and Reform Commission and China Council for Promotion of International Trade."
When the reporter asked for lower price, the man refused. "Do not think 180,000 yuan is a lot. Comparing it with how you will benefit from the hukou in the future, you will know it's worth paying.
"The quotas for Beijing hukou are greatly reduced year by year," Zhang said. "To tell the truth, if you do not have guanxi (a relationship) in government bodies or the public security bureau, even if you have money, you cannot get hukou either."