The China company operating period is usually represented by two dates, which are specified on a Chinese business license.
It is the span between the date of incorporation - the first of these dates - and the expiry date of the company's registration - the second.
In some cases, a China company operating period may be open-ended, meaning no specific expiry date is specified.
What is a China Company Operating Period?
When companies are registered in China, they are usually registered for a defined period, which is displayed on their business license and company registration file.
In theory, this means that the company could be dissolved at the end of their operating period, but in practice a business license will be renewed with the local authorities without too much difficulty.
If you view a Chinese company's business license, their operating period "营业期限" (yíngyè qíxiàn) is usually clearly displayed.
Sometime only the date of incorporation is specified because the operating period is open-ended. More on that later.
In most cases though, this includes two dates (date of incorporation and expiry date) separated by the character "至":
As you can see, the China company operating period is specified using the Chinese language, so to make sense of the data you'll first need to learn how dates are written in Chinese.
How are Dates Written in Chinese?
Modern-day China has aligned with most of the world and follows the Gregorian calendar. The traditional Chinese lunar calendar is almost never used for business purposes these days.
In Chinese, dates are always written in the order "year, month, day" which are represented by the following characters:
- 年 (nián) - meaning "year"
- 月 (yuè) - meaning "month"
- 日 (rì) - meaning "day"
In most cases the numbers are written using Arabic numerals, but sometimes the Chinese characters for numbers are used instead.
- 2020年5月13日 means "13 May 2020"
- 1999年12月8日 means "8 December 1999"
- 2012年3月30日 means "30 March 2012"
- 二零一七年六月二十一日 means "21 June 2017" (Chinese numbers in red)
Note: sometimes the character 号 (hào) - which means "number" - is used instead of 日 to represent the day:
- 2008年8月15号 means "15 August 2008"