The 2015 ISO Survey identified that there were 303,957 ISO 9001 and 117,267 ISO 14001 valid certificates in China.
Although it is the numbers that jump off the page, possibly the most important word to take note of in the above sentence is "valid". In China ISO certificates can take on many guises, and claims of certification simply must be verified. Fake certificates, adjusted certificates, non-accredited certification bodies and even fake certification bodies are widespread.
The huge number of ISO certificates issued means that if you are dealing with a Chinese company there is a high likelihood that you will be presented with a China ISO certificate.
However, taking any China ISO certificate on face value is a risky business. To ensure a Chinese company has the management systems in place to serve your business well, you need to:
Although the easiest way to verify a China ISO certificate is to use China Checkup’s Certificate Verification services, you may be able to verify it yourself online. Here we show you some of the ways to do so.
China is a very bureaucratic country and there are many tiers of government departments whose work relates to ISO certification.
Overseeing the whole field of certification, and member body of ISO is the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC). Working alongside this body is the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA).
Both of these bodies fall under the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection & Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ). I could go on and describe the role of CNAS, CCAA and many more… but will save that for another post!
The closest thing currently available to a China ISO certificate search website is a database provided by CNCA. Although its interface is nominally in English, it is rather difficult to use and you really need to know what you are looking for. Here is the link:
There is an English language database of accredited Chinese certification bodies available on the CNAS website:
This is a very important resource, as you have to question the value of a certificate issued by a non-accredited certification body. Our view is that a certificate issued by a Chinese certification body not on this database is barely worth the paper it is written on.
Many of the world’s largest certification bodies have offices and issue certificates in China. If you need to verify that a China ISO certificate is really issued by one of these international bodies then you can often check directly on their website.
The below list identifies the main international certification bodies with offices in China and includes links to their homepages and certificate search pages (where available):
Although many Chinese companies choose an international certification body for their ISO certifications, the majority still prefer to use domestic bodies.
Here we present a list of some of China’s most reputable certification bodies, their homepages and certificate search pages (where available). Each of these bodies have been accredited by UKAS (UK accreditation), JASANZ (Australia/New Zealand) or ANAB (USA) in addition to CNAS (China).
If the China ISO certification body you are looking for does not appear above, remember to check whether or not it is on the CNAS database of accredited bodies. Not only might this help you find the company’s contact details, but also determine whether they are a reputable certification provider.
With the above resources, a little luck and a lot of spare time you may be able to verify whether or not the China ISO certificate you have been given is legitimate. On the other hand you may not!
Why not let the China verification experts help you? Get peace of mind and verify an ISO certificate using China Checkup’s Certificate Verification services.
If you notice any broken links or would like to add a certification body to our lists please leave a comment below.
Apart from the ubiquitous sourcing b2b platform alibaba.com, do you know any of the other Alibaba ecommerce platforms?
This article gives an overview of the Alibaba ecommerce platforms, most of which are aimed squarely at China's domestic market - notably the country's largest online marketplace Taobao.
Conducting China market research can be very challenging for foreign companies, due to the shortage of reliable information available in the English language.
From researching many topics for our articles, we have however found some websites which we go back to time and again, and decided it would be a good idea to share these with our readers.
Although many factory's have their own laboratories, few of these are independently certified so requesting testing by external testing body is a wise move in many circumstances.
These testing bodies should be accredited and you can make sure of this by requesting a copy of their China laboratory accreditation certificate.