May 2016

China Business Acronyms Glossary

This China Checkup glossary is comprised of some of the most common China business acronyms such as AIC, MOFCOM and SAFE.

Love them or hate them, acronyms are a useful way for people working in a particular field to communicate more concisely. For professionals engaged with business in China this is also the case and there are many English language acronyms which you may encounter.

The problem with all acronyms is that they only make sense if you know what they stand for, so this glossary of China business acronyms is here to address that need.

China Business Acronyms

Tip: If you are looking for a specific term, try using the search function (CTRL-F)

Acronym Stands for Explaination
ABC Agricultural Bank of China One of the five state-controlled joint-stock commercial banks
AEAB Administrative Examinations and Approval Bureau
AEO Authorized Economic Operator A status given by China Customs to certified companies - see What is the China Customs Enterprise Classification System?
AIC Administration for Industry and Commerce

Regional company registration authorities with departments in every administrative region of China - see What is a China AIC?

This authority was abolished in 2018 and their functions are now managed by the Administration for Market Supervision (AMS)

AIIB Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank An international financial institution that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, was proposed as an initiative by the government of China
ALI Alibaba The biggest Chinese e-commerce company that provides C2C, B2C and B2B sales services via web portals, also provides electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services
AMS Administration for Market Supervision Created in 2018 this super-agency regulates areas such as company registration, market competition, monopolies, intellectual property and drug safety.
AMQS Administration for Market and Quality Supervision
AQSIQ General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine In charge of national quality, metrology, entry-exit commodity inspection, entry-exit health quarantine, entry-exit animal and plant quarantine, import-export food safety, certification and accreditation, standardization, as well as administrative law enforcement
BAT Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent The Big Three Internet companies in China
BCM Bank of Communications One of the largest banks in China
BOC Bank of China One of the five state-controlled joint-stock commercial banks
BRI Belt and Road Initiative China's signature foreign-policy project for global infrastructure investment
CBRC China Banking Regulatory Commission An agency authorized by the State Council to regulate Mainland China's banking sector
CCAA China Certification & Accreditation Association A nonprofit industry organization for Chinese certification bodies
CCAM China Customs Advanced Manifest A submission made to China Customs by overseas exporters when shipping cargo
CCB China Construction Bank One of the five state-controlled joint-stock commercial banks
CCBA China Customs Brokers Association A national industrial association for Chinese customs brokers which is directly under the leadership of the General Administration of Customs
CCC China Compulsory Certification The CCC mark is a compulsory safety mark for many products imported, sold or used in the Chinese market - see China CCC Certificate – An Introduction
CCIC China Certification & Inspection Group A third party certification, inspection and testing organization under, but run independently of AQSIQ
CCPIT China Council for the Promotion of International Trade A national foreign trade and investment promotion agency, their responsibilities include: implement relevant major national development strategies, promote foreign trade, bilateral investment and economic & technological cooperation
CEDZ China Economic Development Zones A special economic development zone where foreign direct investment is encouraged - also known as Economic & Technological Development Zone (ETDZ)
CFDA China Food and Drug Administration Government agency responsible for supervision and administration of drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, healthy food and restaurant food safety
CIQ China Inspection & Quarantine Bureau Directly governed by AQSIQ, CIQ bureaus are established at each of China's ports for inspecting shipments
CITIC China International Trust and Investment Corporation One of the biggest conglomerates in China with leading businesses including financial services, resources and energy, engineering contracting, manufacturing and real estate
CLIC China Life Insurance Co., Ltd. One of the largest insurance companies in China
CMB China Merchants Bank The first and largest privately-owned commercial bank in China
CMBC China Minsheng Bank Corp The first bank in China to be owned mostly by non-government enterprises, it focuses on making loans to small and medium-sized enterprises
CMCC China Mobile Communications Corporation China Mobile Ltd's current parent company
CNAS China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment China's national accreditation body - the authority solely responsible for accreditation of certification bodies, laboratories and inspection bodies
CNCA Certification and Accreditation Administration This institution oversees the management, supervision and coordination of certification and accreditation activities across the country
CNNIC China Internet Network Information Center An administrative agency responsible for Internet affairs under the Ministry of Information Industry of China
CNY Chinese Yuan CNY is the official currency code of China's currency, the Renminbi (See RMB)
COSCO China Ocean Shipping Company The largest multi-purpose ship transportation company in China, state owned
CPIC China Pacific Insurance Co., Ltd. The second largest property insurance company (after PICC) and the third largest life insurance company (after CLIC and Ping An Insurance) in Mainland China
CQC China Quality Certification China's largest professional certification body
CR China Railway The national railway operator with rail commuter and freight transport services operating under several smaller companies
CRE China Railway Express Co.,Ltd. Leading company in China's domestic logistics industry with rail, air and road freight services
CRH China Railway High-Speed The high-speed rail service operated by China Railway, the equivalent of Japan's Shinkansen
CSCL China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd. One of China's largest global container liner services
CT China Telecom A Chinese state-owned telecommunication company, the largest fixed-line service and the third largest mobile telecommunication provider in China
CTMO China Trademark Office A government agency responsible for trademark registration and administration throughout the country
CUCC China Unicom Communications Corporation A Chinese state-owned telecommunications operator, the world's fourth largest mobile service provider by subscriber base
CUP China UnionPay The only domestic bank card organization and the only interbank network in China excluding Hong Kong and Macau, linking the ATMs of all banks throughout mainland China and widely accepted by the ATMs in Hong Kong and Macau
ETDZ Economic & Technological Development Zone A special economic development zone where foreign direct investment is encouraged - also know as China Economic Development Zones (CEDZ)
FIPE Foreign Invested Partnership Enterprises A special form of company incorporation which allows foreign investors to establish an entity in Mainland China in partnership with other foreign or domestic investors -  similar to a JV
FTZ Free Trade Zone Currently operating in Shanghai, Fujian, Tianjin, Guangdong & more - see China Free Trade Zones - Where Are They?
GAC General Administration of Customs Government agency that supervises and manages all arrivals in and departures from mainland China with essential tasks such as customs control, revenue collection, fighting smuggling and foreign trade statistics compilation
GB Guóbiāo (lit. National Standard) GB standards are the Chinese national standards issued by the Standardization Administration of China (SAC)
GFW Great Firewall China's infamous internet network censoring system
HW Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. A Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world
ICBC Industrial and Commercial Bank of China China's largest commercial bank
JD Jingdong Mall A Chinese electronic commerce company, one of the largest B2C online retailers in China by transaction volume, and a major competitor to Alibaba-run Tmall
JV Joint Venture A business in which a Chinese company and a foreign company have jointly invested
LC Letter of Credit Similar to T/T but funds are held by bank as a guarantee of payment
MI Xiaomi (Namely, Mobile Internet) A privately owned Chinese electronics company designs, develops and sells smartphones, mobile apps and related consumer electronics, the world's 5th largest smartphone maker
MIIT Ministry of Industry and Information Technology A state agency responsible for regulation and development of the postal service, Internet, wireless, broadcasting, communications, production of electronic and information goods, software industry and the promotion of the national knowledge economy
MOFCOM The Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China Responsible for formulating policy on foreign trade, export and import regulations, foreign direct investments, consumer protection, market competition and negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade agreements
MOQ Minimum Order Quantity This is the minimum quantity for one order required by the supplier
MSA Market Supervision Administration This is a pilot administration scheme which combines the operations of the AIC, QTSB, CFDA, SIPO to monitor market practices in specific areas of China - currently operational in Shenzhen and the Shanghai Free Trade Zones
MSA Maritime Safety Administration A government agency which administers all matters related to maritime and shipping safety, including the supervision of maritime traffic safety and security, prevention of pollution from ships, inspection of ships and offshore facilities, etc.
NACAO National Administration for Code Allocation to Organizations A government institution administering the work related to the National Organization Code - see China Organization Code – An Introduction
NEEQ National Equities Exchange and Quotations Beijing-based over-the-counter trading market for small and medium size enterprises
OBOR One Belt One Road Another name for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
OC Organization Code The unique code issued to organizations in China by NACAO
PBOC People's Bank of China China's central bank - plays a critical role in the country's macroeconomic management
PICC People's Insurance Company of China State-owned, the largest insurer of casualty insurance in China
QTSB Quality and Technology Supervision Bureau This government agency supervises product quality standards, metrological law and standardization law
RMB Renminbi

Renminbi (人民币) is the official name of China's currency and literally means "People's currency". See Which Chinese Currency are in Circulation?

SAC Standardization Administration of China The agency responsible for work related to national standards and standardization. Represents China within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
SAFE State Administration of Foreign Exchange This administrative agency is tasked with drafting rules and regulations governing foreign exchange market activities, and managing the state foreign exchange reserves
SAIC State Administration for Industry and Commerce

Responsible for overseeing each of the regional AICs and in charge of market supervision/regulation and related law enforcement through administrative means

This authority was abolished in 2018 and their functions are now managed by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR)

SAMR State Administration for Market Regulation Responsible for overseeing each of the regional AMSs
SASAC State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission Responsible for managing the remaining SOEs, including appointing top executives and approving any mergers or sales of stock or assets, as well as drafting laws related to state-owned enterprises
SAT State Administration of Taxation A ministerial-level department within the government of China responsible for the collection of taxes and enforcing state revenue laws
SEZ Special Economic Zone Economic zones in China with special economic policies and flexible governmental measures
SIPO State Intellectual Property Office China's patent office, responsible for patent work and coordination of foreign related affairs in the field of intellectual property
SOE State-Owned Enterprise a legal entity that undertakes commercial activities on behalf of an owner, the government
SSE Shanghai Stock Exchange One of two main stock exchanges in Mainland China, located in Shanghai
SZSE Shenzhen Stock Exchange China's other main stock exchange, based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province
TB Taobao A Chinese website for online shopping similar to eBay & Amazon that is operated in China by Alibaba Group
TRAB Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce The commission responsible for adjudicating on trademark disputes in China
TT or T/T Telegraphic Transfer Another name for International Money Transfer, i.e. a standard international bank transaction
USCC Unified Social Credit Code Another name for the 18-digit Chinese business registration number as found on the China Business License
USCI Unified Social Credit Identifier Another name for the Unified Social Credit Code (USCC)
WB Sina Weibo A China-based microblogging service, including social chat sites and platform sharing
WFOE Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise A limited liability company in Mainland China wholly owned by foreign investor(s)
YHD Yihaodian A Chinese B2C e-commerce website that provides people with a platform to buy groceries online, 100% owned by Walmart

Do you have a China business acronym which is missing from our glossary? Please get in touch with us and we will be happy to add it.

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