Knowledge
30
September 2013

What is the Incorporation Form of a Chinese Business?

If you check the business license of a Chinese company, you will see there is a field called “Incorporation Form”. Note that we’re talking about a Chinese term here (公司类型 – Gōngsī Lèixíng) – you could translate it into English in various ways, including “company category” or “business type”. The incorporation form of a Chinese business tells you what kind of legal entity it is officially registered as. This may include terms such as “limited liability” and whether the company is a domestic or foreign one.

Checking the Incorporation Form on a Chinese Business License

A Chinese company’s business license will list their incorporation form. We always recommend requesting a copy of the business license of a Chinese company you’re doing business with, if possible. This is a good way to view some basic information about the company.

The incorporation form will look like this on a Chinese business license:

 Chinese business licenses are of course written entirely in Chinese, as that is the only official language of mainland China.

Also take a look at China Checkup’s glossary of business types which lists the common forms of incorporation in China.

Checking the Incorporation Form on a Company’s Public Record

If you’d prefer not to let a company know that you’re researching them and therefore can’t ask for a copy of their business license, you can look up their public registration record online. If you have already viewed a copy of a company’s business license, we still recommend checking the public record to confirm the information you’ve been given.

To check a Chinese company’s public registration record, you need to find out which province they were registered in and visit the website for the AIC (Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau, 工商行政管理局, Gōngshāng Xíngzhèng Guǎnlǐjú) for that province. On the website, you can search for the company’s registration record using its registered Chinese name. You may then be able to find the record, in Chinese, which will include the corporation form.

It’s important to note that the public records made available to the general public by each AIC may not be 100% up-to-date and reliable in all cases. In the majority of cases the public records are accurate and without any problems, but the AICs can be quite slow to update them. The only way to guarantee that you’re seeing the most up-to-date and accurate information is to dispatch a Chinese lawyer to go to the AIC office in person and retrieve the record in hardcopy. Only Chinese lawyers are permitted to make this request, so their services are required to do this.

China Checkup’s Services

China Checkup’s company verification reports can provide all of the above services for you, including retrieval, translation and explanation of a Chinese company’s public record.

All our reports can be conveniently ordered online and come with no hidden costs.

Further reading