Opinions, knowledge and resources from China Checkup's expert contributors
by Matt Slater
06 July 2018
Viewing information declared on a Chinese annual return is a useful method to learn more about a company from China.
As in other countries, Chinese companies are required to make an annual return to the tax authorities to report their business performance and financials, alongside other key details.
In this article we look at what information from a Chinese annual return is made publicly available by the authorities.
All companies registered in Mainland China are required to lodge an annual tax return to the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) to report their business finances and actualities.
For most companies this information must be submitted by a registered Chinese tax accountant who has audited the company's accounts.
In China the financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December and companies have until 30 June the following year to make their submission, otherwise they will be marked as having abnormal business operations until the issue is resolved.
In addition to financials, companies must also report significant changes to the company's structure & shareholders, as well as providing contact details and more.
Information from a Chinese annual return is available by accessing the company's registration records on China's National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System which is run by the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC).
Depending on the company, records are usually available on the system for each annual return going back to 2013.
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It is important to be aware that the information contained within a Chinese annual return is declared by the company itself and the AIC system makes a point of stating that "the company is responsible for the information's validity and legality".
The information made available is contained under the following section headers:
This specifies the company's basic registration and operations information. Many people find the contact details and the company's description of their main business activities here useful.
If the company has declared any websites, they will also be listed on the annual return.
Details of each shareholder and their shareholding at the end of the financial year, should be declared.
(from left to right)
When the company has invested in another entity these details should be declared.
Although Chinese companies are required to submit financial information when making their annual returns, they also have the choice whether or not to make this information publicly available.
The result of this is that very few companies choose to make their financials publicly available – less than 1% in our experience. If they do, figures are always presented in CNY.
Details of guarantees made to, or received from, other entities.
Any changes to a company's shareholders should be declared and displayed here.
This section lets you know the number of employees the company pays social security for, and the amounts they should pay, have agreed to pay and have already paid.
Usually this information isn't made publicly available, however.
If any changes have been made to the annual return they will be specified here.
If you are unable to retrieve and translate the information yourself, check out China Checkup's China Full Scope Verification report.
This comprehensive report gives you an unprecedented insight into a Mainland China company, including details from their most recent annual return.
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
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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.
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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
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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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