Due Diligence
20
March 2018

How to Find Details on Offshore Chinese Companies

The possibility of finding details on offshore Chinese companies depends primarily on the jurisdiction in which they are registered.

Such companies aren't registered in China, so registration information isn't going to be found there. It is necessary to identify the country in which they are registered and lookup details on that country's system.

This article provides guidance, and lists useful resources, for getting registration information about offshore Chinese companies. 

What are Offshore Chinese Companies?

There are many possible definitions, but we understand an offshore Chinese company to be an entity owned/controlled by a Chinese individual or company, which is registered outside of China.

China is a place with multiple jurisdictions, so we are not talking about companies registered in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

Offshore Chinese companies can literally be registered anywhere. Some Chinese companies we have been asked to verify turned out to be registered in places as diverse as Australia, British Virgin Islands, Malaysia, Seychelles and the UK.

Does China Checkup Verify Offshore Chinese Companies?

Not really, as our services are focused on companies registered in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In many cases however, we find that the owners of an Onshore Chinese company have also registered an offshore company under the same name (including a Chinese version), often with an associated offshore bank account in Mainland China.

This was the case recently when we verified a "Hangzhou" company, which we found was actually registered in the UK.

In such circumstances we can often verify whether or not there is an associated onshore entity for the offshore Chinese company.

Websites for Searching Data on Offshore Chinese Companies

As we mentioned earlier, the availability of information on offshore Chinese companies depends on where they are registered.

If you can identify which jurisdiction the company is registered in, you should in most cases be able to lookup their company information.

Note that data is not always available in English and many countries will charge a fee or have a time-consuming application process for accessing information.

Below are some online resources we have previously used to find details on offshore Chinese companies. 

Worldwide Search Websites

These websites can be used to make searches of companies in mutiple jurisdictions:

WebsiteAvailable Language(s)OpenCorporatesEnglish

Country-specific Websites

The following websites are each country-specific and are listed in alphabetical order.

Country Website Available Language(s)
Australia Australian Business Register - ABN Lookup
Australian Securities & Investments Commission
English
British Virgin Islands BVI Financial Services Commission English
Canada Corporations Canada English, French
Cayman Islands General Registry English
Italy Infocamere English, Italian
Japan National Tax Agency English, Japanese
Malaysia The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) English, Malay
Marshall Islands International Registries, Inc. English
New Zealand Companies Register English
Samoa Samoa Business Registry English
Seychelles E-Service Gateway English
Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority - BizFile English
Sweden Bolagsverket - Swedish Companies Registration Office English, Swedish
Switzerland Business Monitor English, French, German
Thailand Department of Business - DBD DataWarehouse English, Thai
UK Companies House English
USA - Delaware Delaware Division of Corporations English

We'll add other websites to this list as and when we find and have used them. You can also take a look at the UK government's list of overseas registries if you can't find the one you are looking for here.

Do you know of any other resources for getting details of offshore Chinese companies? If so, we'd love to hear from you!

Further reading