Opinions, knowledge and resources from China Checkup's expert contributors
by Matt Slater
24 October 2013
You may know that companies registering in the UK register with “Companies House”, well the closest equivalent to a China Companies House is the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC).
There are significant differences, however, between how the UK’s Companies House and China’s AIC operates and this article aims to shed some light on this subject.
In the UK, official business registration records for the whole country are centralized and handled by the government office called Companies House. If you’re dealing with a company in the UK such as a supplier, you can use the publicly searchable records provided by Companies House to verify details (in English!) such as their company registration number, VAT registration and so on.
The picture in China is less straightforward and there is no single “China Companies House” for the country as a whole. China is a much larger and more administratively-complex country, so rather than have one single authority to register companies, there are regional offices covering each of the different provinces and administrative areas of the country.
These offices are usually known by their abbreviated provincial names, e.g. Shandong AIC or Hebei AIC, with AIC being an abbreviation for “Adminstration for Industry and Commerce” which in Chinese is written as “工商行政管理局” (Gōngshāng Xíngzhèng Guǎnlǐ Jú).
The AIC has its headquarters in Beijing, which is known as the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC). This office is responsible for coordinating the regional AICs and also registers some of China’s largest companies.
The key to determining which province a company is registered in is in its name! Nearly all Mainland China companies include their registration location in their company name. This can be a town or a province. If it is a town you are unfamiliar with you can use google to determine which province it belongs to.
This sounds straightforward enough, but the trouble is Chinese companies names are registered in the Chinese language only, and the English name they use may or may not be a direct translation of their official Chinese company name.
Determining where a Chinese company is registered used to be a prerequisite for carrying out checks, but thanks to the new National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System (which you can read about here) this is no longer the case.
Each AIC branch provides public access to the company registration records that it holds for each entity under its jurisdiction, and this is done via the national system.
In addition, if the nationwide website isn’t providing you the results you require, you can also try looking up a company on the local AIC websites.
Unfortunately, there is currently no English language version for any of the AIC company search websites.
Order online & get peace of mind
Mainland China Company Verification ReportsCost: from $129 USDTurnaround: from 1 working day
Some AIC websites, such as those for major cities, may offer English language versions for some of their pages. Currently, though, the majority of AIC websites are only available in Chinese, and generally require some knowledge of the Chinese language to navigate.
If you can find your way around the Chinese AIC website, you can use it in much the same way you would use Companies House to find information on UK companies.
Once you’ve managed to retrieve the AIC record for a particular company, you will likely need to have it translated into English and explained to make the information accessible to you for business use.
China Checkup offers a convenient and streamlined way to access the public registration record of any company in China. All we require is the name of the company in English and some identifying information such as their website address. With that, we will handle the whole process for you, including:
We present the above information and more in a clear, high-quality report that is emailed to your inbox in PDF format. Find out more about China Checkup’s online services or contact us with your enquiry.
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.
Perform your due diligence with a Company Verification Report
Order Online | 1-Day Turnaround
Protect My Business
Founded in 2013 by Matt Slater, China Checkup is the #1 provider of Chinese company verification services.
Trusted by thousands of clients worldwide, China Checkup's reports are easy to order, processed quickly and highly accurate.
Brisbane & Shanghai
AIC – Alibaba – Business License – Company Names – Data –Explanations – Fraud – Introductions – ISO – Lists – Questions – Resources – Shipping – Sourcing – Stories – Supply Chain – Travel
5 Ways to Check Chinese Certificates are Legitimate
China Business License - An Introduction
China Company Register - The AIC System
Is There a China Company Registration Search Website?
The New 18-Digit Chinese Business Registration Number
What is the Unified Social Credit Code?
Sign up here to receive our latest articles.