How to register a company in China

register a company in China

Foreign investors like to know how to register a company in China, especially private limited companies and/ or branch offices open? As it stands, China is the ultimate business destination. It is the largest market in the world. It has one of the largest workforces that the world has ever seen, the labor cost is very competitive and the consumers are eager to buy and try out newer products. It is no surprise that with each passing day, more foreign investors and companies are lining up to start their businesses in China.

So if you are looking to conduct your business in China then there are certain things you need to know. For starters, you need to register your foreign company in China with the local authorities otherwise you won’t be issued a Certificate of Registration which is vital to do business in China. In order to register a foreign company in China, there are several steps that need to be followed.

Step One: The first step to register a foreign company in China requires the foreign investor to select a local agency or a legal firm. They shall help and counsel the foreign entity during the entire registration process. While people may think that they can register on their own, the process can be very complicated and time-consuming so it is advisable to use the help of a local agency.

Step Two: The next step of registering a company in China requires finding out what kind of business the foreign entity is allowed to do. In China, there are several sectors where foreign investment is encouraged by providing several fiscal incentives and at the same time, there are areas where the foreign investment is restricted unless the entity goes into Joint Venture with a local company.  In terms of Joint Ventures, the foreign company is not allowed to have more than 49% of the share of the company. So figuring this out is crucial before registering the company.

Step Three: The submission of all the legal documents is vital in the process to register a company in China. Without the required legal documents the Chinese government will not permit the company to legally operate in the country. All the legal documents must be drafted in Mandarin. This is another reason why hiring a local agency is so critical. The list of documents that should be submitted include the following

  • The name of the company- The name should be in Chinese and should not clash with any other names of any companies that are already in existence. The approval for the company name should be taken at the Administration of Industry and Commerce and may take around 12 to 15 days to complete.
  • All the names of the controlling partners and all their details.
  • The legal address of the company. This should also include the name, email address and phone number of the owner of the land in case of any emergency. The address of the company should be exclusive and cannot be shared with any other company to reduce costs.
  • The Articles of Association should also be there in the list of important documents. These articles should contain every single detail regarding the type of business the company is planning to do and mention other things such as the financial flow, the managerial structure as well as the ways to generate profit.
  • All the names of the employees the foreign company is planning to hire and the salary and other benefits offered to them. They should also indicate whether the employees are of local origin or ex-pats.

Step Four: Once all the documents are submitted, the next step to registering a company involves getting approval from all the correct governing bodies.  In case of a foreign company trying to register in China, they need to work closely with the Ministry of Commerce as well as the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. They are the ones responsible for handing out the registration certificate and the other business permits needed to operate in Mainland China.

Step five: Once the foreign company reaches to step five they are almost done with the registration process. This step basically requires the foreign entity to obtain a business license. The license is given out by the AIC and an entity will have 30 days to apply for it once they receive their certificate of registration.

Step six: The last step of registering a foreign company in China involves making a deposit in a bank account. The deposit will be none other than the capital required by the company to start their business. The account needs to be opened with the Bank of China or any other bank that has been designated by the SAFE, State Administration of Foreign Exchange.


Company Registration Expert Since 2012