April 2015

Chinese Company Type Terms Glossary

In this glossary we present each of the Chinese company type terms we have identified whilst researching Mainland China companies for our company verification reports.

As we continue to verify Chinese companies we will add to this glossary when a new term for a Chinese company type is identified.

Chinese Company Type Terms

These terms are are found on the Mainland China business license and offer a more detailed description of an entity’s company type than that included in their company name. For example “有限公司” means Co., Ltd.

This information is included when customers order one of our China company verification reports.

Tip: If you are looking for a specific term, try using the search function

Chinese Terminology English Translation
有限责任公司分公司(自然人投资或控股的法人独资) Branch of limited liability company (natural person investment or holding corporation sole investment)
Individually-owned business (notes: in mainland China, an individually-own business is typically a small business run directly by the natural person or their family
股份合作制 Joint stock-holding partnership
上市股份有限公司 Joint-stock limited company (listed)
股份有限公司(非上市、自然人投资或控股) Joint-stock limited company (not listed, invested or controlled by natural person)
有限责任公司(法人独资) Limited liability company (legal person sole investment)
有限责任公司(国有独资) Limited liability company (solely state-owned)
有限责任公司(外商投资) Limited liability company (foreign investment)
有限责任公司(外商合资) Limited liability company (foreign joint venture)
有限责任公司(外国自然人独资) Limited liability company (foreign natural person sole investment)
有限责任公司(自然人投资或控股) Limited liability company (invested or controlled by natural person)
有限公司(自然人控股) Limited liability company (natural person holding)
有限公司(自然人投资) Limited liability company (natural person investment)
有限责任公司(自然人独资) Limited liability company (natural person sole investment)
有限责任公司(外国法人独资-国别:美国) Limited liability company (solely invested by a foreign legal person - country: USA)
有限责任公司(外国法人独资) Limited liability company (solely invested by a foreign legal person)
有限责任公司(台港澳与境内合资) Limited liability company (Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau and domestic joint venture)
有限责任公司(台港澳法人独资) Limited liability company (Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau legal person sole investment)
有限责任公司(台港澳自然人独资) Limited liability company (Taiwan/ Hong Kong/ Macau natural person sole investment)
一人有限责任公司(自然人独资) One-person limited liability company (natural person sole investment)
其它股份有限公司(上市) Other limited company (listed)
其他有限责任公司 Other limited liability company
私营有限责任公司(自然人控股或私营性质企业控股) Private limited liability company (natural person holding or private business holding)
独资经营(港资) Sole investment enterprise (Hong Kong investment)
有限责任公司(中外合资) Limited liability company (domestic and foreign joint venture)
个体户 Individually-owned business
全民所有制 Ownership by the whole people
集体所有制 Collective ownership
一人有限责任公司(内资法人独资) Sole limited liability company (domestic corporation sole investment)
有限合伙 Limited partnership
普通合伙 General partnership
外商投资企业法人独资 Foreign-invested enterprise sole investment

For more general Chinese company types (such as limited liability company) you can actually determine this from the name of a Chinese company, as explained in point 5 of this article.

About “Other” Companies

  • Question: What does “Other Limited Liability Company” mean?

This is our word-for-word translation of the original Chinese characters as recorded with local registry bureaus (Original Chinese: 其他有限责任公司). We didn’t find a specific definition for this in Chinese company law. The law only gives definition on “limited liability company” as an enterprise legal person whose shareholders shall assume liability towards the company to the extent of their respective capital contribution, and the company shall be liable for its debts to the extent of all its assets.

One explanation we found is that “other limited liability company” is a type of limited liability company, and this phrase is just the local registry bureau’s way of categorizing a limited liability company whose shareholding structure is not simple enough to be categorized into one group.
For example, companies with only one shareholder can be just called “limited liability company (natural person sole investment)” or “limited liability company (legal person sole investment)”; companies totally invested by foreign shareholders can be just called “limited liability (foreign-owned enterprise)”; other companies whose shareholders include both Chinese and foreign individuals/enterprises can sometimes be categorized into “other limited liability company”.

Need a Broader Description of a Chinese Company Type?

For a more broader description of company types you can try reading our article "6 Common Types of Company Registration in China" which gives a general overview of WFOE, JV, Rep Office, SOE, Private Enterprise and Individually-owned Mainland China companies.

Can’t Find a Chinese Company Type in Our Glossary?

Please feel free to leave a comment below or email us at, we’d be interested to hear about it.

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Further reading