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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.
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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
18 May 2020
This article takes a look at the 6 different China city types and the various levels of autonomy and power each type holds.
China has over 700 official cities, from the metropolises of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong down to the smaller cities of Beihai, Shangrao and Qufu, but they are not all governed equally.
Read this guide if you want to understand the difference between China city types, including municipalities, prefecture-level cities, county-level cities and more.
by Matt Slater
30 January 2020
Launched by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the decades long process of Chinese economic reform has transformed China beyond recognition.
This article highlights some of the most significant events during this period in the form of a year by year timeline.
by Matt Slater
09 January 2020
Listening to China business podcasts can be a great way to get insights on the Chinese market, pick up new knowledge and get fresh perspectives.
The great news is that there is actually a lot of great podcasts out there on this topic - and in this article I have chosen my current top ten.
These podcasts cover business in China from a range of angles - including tech startups, importing/sourcing, economics and more - so if you are interested in learning more about China business you are sure to find quality material here.
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