Opinions, knowledge and resources from China Checkup's expert contributors
by Matt Slater
30 October 2013
Foreign companies wishing to do business in China do not necessarily need to establish any kind of organisation in China. If they do want to set up a ‘China arm’, it can be one of the following types of entity:
Note that rep. offices are becoming an increasingly rare choice for foreign companies wishing to operate in China as the Chinese government is gradually reducing the legally permitted capabilities of ROs. JVs and WFOEs are the more common choices as they allow a much broader range of business operations to take place.
The process of checking the public registration record of a JV, WFOE or RO is much the same as that for checking a domestically owned Chinese company. All of these records can be checked via the website for the AIC (Administration of Industry and Commerce – 工商行政管理局) for the province the entity is registered in. Each province in China (‘province’ including major cities which have their own AICs) has an AIC, and they are required by Chinese law to make their company registration records publicly available online.
Unfortunately, the quality of these public registration record websites varies considerably between different AICs. There is currently no consistent, standardised system. Instead, you will have to determine how the particular AIC for the relevant province makes its records available. Some have intelligent search functions that accept only part of the entity’s registered name. Others require the full name to be entered exactly for any results to be displayed. Further, each AIC updates its public records on its own schedule, which in some cases can mean that the records get out of date before they are updated with the latest information.
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The easiest way to find the AIC website for the province where your entity is registered is to do a websearch in Chinese for the name of the province and the term 工商行政管理局. AIC websites will include the letters ‘AIC’ in their address. For example, the AIC website for Gansu province looks like this in search results:
Once you’ve identified the AIC website for the province your entity is registered in, you can search for its registered name. This is likely to be its Chinese name, although some JVs, WFOEs and ROs are registered with an official English name. Depending on the search functionality of the AIC website and the accuracy of your search, the AIC website will display the public records it has on file for the entity you’re interested in. This record will display, at a minimum, the following information about the entity:
You can use this record to check that your JV, WFOE or RO in China has been registered correctly, and to see what registration information regarding it is being displayed to the general public. Note that all AIC records are displayed in Chinese and not in English, as are AIC website interfaces in general. Searching for a registered entity usually requires using its Chinese name, as it’s somewhat unusual for a company to be registered with an official English name.
China Checkup provides a hassle-free way to check the public registration records of any registered entity in China. We handle retrieval of the public registration record, and provide a full translation and explanation of the information displayed. Read more about our Chinese company reports for more information.
Hi there, I'm Matt, the Founder & CEO of China Checkup. Originally from the UK, I am now based in Brisbane, Australia.
Frustrated by the scarcity of concise, high-quality and timely information about Chinese companies, I setup China Checkup whilst living in Shanghai in 2013.
My team are proud that China Checkup's company verification reports have now helped thousands of clients from all corners of the world to do business in China more safely.
by Matt Slater
11 December 2020
View this comprehensive list of cities in China from Ankang to Zunyi!
We have included all cities in China that are either at, or above, prefecture-level and they are listed both alphabetically and grouped by province.
by Matt Slater
16 November 2020
This list of Chinese AMR websites includes links to the AMR branch website for each province/administrative region in China.
In case you're wondering, the acronym "AMR" stands for "Administration for Market Regulation", which is a newly-launched Chinese government agency created by the merger of many previous agencies, including the AIC and AQSIQ.
This super regulator is now responsible for a wide range of regulatory matters in Mainland China, so if you need to get in touch with them you should find this list of Chinese AMR websites useful.
by Matt Slater
10 November 2020
The China AEO Certificate is a document held by companies in China engaged in import and export activities.
Issued by China Customs, the certificate specifies the company's enterprise classification, which determines their level of inspections and more.
Requesting and verifying a supplier's China AEO certificate can be a sensible measure to understand if they are registered with China Customs as an "Authorized Economic Operator" and to check their AEO type.
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