This is always the most concern for me when I drive to somewhere, and I drive a lot than most of non driver professional resident, in general, parking is a mess in most places I ever visited, especially in community where the traffic law is not applicable.
The ownership ratio of car boosted dramatically in China over past ten years, which is far more overwhelm the road capacity of most medium size city, not to say the first tier city such as Beijing. So most of city enacted the restriction law of the ownership of car per family. for example, in Beijing, the maximum amount of the ownership of car for a family is two, if you want to buy a new car, you have to sell one of your used car. For those who still not have a car, they should make a luck draw every three month, the winning rate is probably less then 1/100, and the total amount of new car license issued every year is still capped under 60,000, maybe less in the future.
City Shanghai goes anther way, which make a auction sales for the license plate, probably you should afford 100,000 RMB(15,000$) to get a license to buy a new car.
So, given the fact of boosting of the car ownership ratio, the parking became the following problem, as most of car owner in China do not count parking fee is a mandatory cost of owning a car, few people have their own private parking slot. In Beijing, for example, most permanent parking slot property would cost 400,000-80,000 RMB (60,000$-120,000$) to own, plus more than 1000 RMB (150$) management fee every year. Renting a parking slot would cost you averaged 400-800 RMB per month (60$-120$) depending on where you are, or the parking term.
For the rest car owner, most them choose to parking their car illegally on the street, sometime in the middle of the street ,even the center of crossing, I am not kidding here, for this situation, when the police go on duty at probably 8:00AM, the car would be fined 200RMB, if the owner would not move away the car.
Figure: In fact all the cars on both side of the road is parking illegally.
If you drive to some place where is not a living community, such as some office building or shopping mall, you could barely find any free parking slot, you have to pay 2RMB-10RMB per hour depend where you are. But sometimes, there are fake parking administrator, who would charge you some parking fee, but you still got risk to be fined by police, and in practice, you can not tell the fake one easily, but there are not much more within express way ring 4th.
In general, the parking order would be worse when far from the center of Beijing (Overall traffic), like few people would parking illegally within 2nd ring express way, as the police go patrol time to time, you merely got 100% chance to be fined, but outside 5th ring way, the police force are out of man power, usually, they will go patrol one time for one place everyday, so if you are familiar with the schedule, you would evade them.
For my personal experience, if you can find a parking slot for sale as property, you should probably buy one at max 500,000RMB($75,000) within 4th ring way, it would be counted as a good investment, rather than a parking slot, as you may be aware, it is normal that a parking slot property would cost one million RMB in Hong Kong today.