Opinions, knowledge and resources from China Checkup's expert contributors
by Matt Slater
06 November 2013
Checking a Chinese company registration number is a common preliminary task when doing business with Chinese companies. The registration number of a company appears on its business license, and there’s a procedure you can go through to confirm the registration details. Note that registration numbers are also known as Chinese business license numbers.
Tip: Do you want to verify a Chinese company fast? Use our streamlined China company verification service, and get your result in one working day.
We’ve previously covered the process for looking up Chinese company registration details online, so here we’d like to offer a little more insight on exactly what you’re looking up when you check a Chinese company registration number / business license number and what it means.
All companies in China are required to be officially registration and get a business license. If they don’t do this then they can’t legally operate. If a company successfully completes the official registration process, they get a business license, which includes a unique Chinese company registration number.
This number appears on their business license and is also logged in the records of the government office that handles business registrations in their province. This office is called the AIC (Administration for Industry and Commerce – 工商行政管理局), and there’s one AIC for each administrative region in China (provinces and major cities).
Each AIC makes these logs publicly viewable online via its website. This means that is is possible to look up a business by the Chinese company registration number shown on its business license, and see if it matches the information shown online.
Unfortunately, each AIC’s record searching system is quite idiosyncratic, and they don’t guarantee that the public record contains the most up-to-date information. This means that in general some knowledge of the Chinese language and the registration system is required to navigate and interpret the public records made available by China’s various AICs.
Before doing business with a company in China or making any transactions with them, you should request a copy of their business license. This can be a very quick way to identify untrustworthy parties – if they offer any resistance to showing their business license, it’s a big red flag. Remember to watch our for "photoshopped" business licenses though.
If they do show a valid business license, they’ve overcome the most basic hurdle, but you should still put many more hurdles in place before trusting them. The next hurdle is to look up the Chinese company registration number shown on the business license you’ve been given. We’ve previously covered how to do this, so we won’t repeat it here.
If you can’t find any records for the company on the relevant AIC website, then you may conclude that they’ve failed to clear this hurdle. If there is a record with the given registration number, the next hurdle in the sequence is to check that the information shown on the business license matches that shown on the AIC record. A lazy scammer might have simply photoshopped a business license, ‘borrowing’ various details from two or more companies. Such a mismatch would be revealed with the AIC check and they would fail this hurdle.
If the business license number does have a matching AIC record and the information corroborates, then it seems you have been given the business license of a real Chinese company. However, that’s all you know: you have in your possession a copy of a genuine Chinese business license, but you still don’t know if you’re actually dealing with that company. For example, a scammer may have somehow acquired a copy of this business license (which would not be difficult to do), and is now using it for their own purposes. Checking the Chinese company registration number would not reveal this situation.
As you can see, then, checking a Chinese company registration number or the details of its business license isn’t enough to confirm that you should trust the person responding to your emails. You should always ask yourself the question “how would I fake this?” If you can think of plausible ways that what you’ve been shown so far would be possible to fake, be extremely cautious and try to find further ways to reduce the possibility of a scam (i.e., keep putting more hurdles in place).
A next step might be to request further proof of association between the public registration details and the person you’re corresponding with. Another option is to try to establish fresh contact with what appears to be the genuine company, independently of any existing communication channels you have.
Order online & get peace of mind
Mainland China Company Verification ReportsCost: from $129 USDTurnaround: from 1 working day
Beyond that, it is of course possible that a genuine company with legitimate registration details could still cause disappointment for you. For example, a factory could fail to produce goods to the quality you requested. To avoid these kinds of issues, much more intensive checks such as factory visits are required.
Such visits are going to be expensive, so it makes sense to eliminate as many options using cheaper methods first, and then only visit the most promising candidates.
China Checkup’s Company Verification Services can be very useful in this process. We make it easy and very affordable for you to check Chinese company registration details. We only need basic identifying details, and we will handle the location and retrieval a company’s registration records, fully translate them and explain them in clear English, and compile all the information into a convenient report format that is delivered to your inbox. Read More…
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
31 October 2019
This article identifies over one hundred of the most informative English-language China news websites.
By regularly sharing news from China on our social media channels we have identified many good sources and thought it would be a good idea to share these with you, our readers.
So if you are looking for websites with news on China, look no further than this long list we have compiled.
by Matt Slater
30 August 2019
Do you want to know which China city economies are the driving force behind Mainland China's huge and growing GDP figures?
As China's best-known cities, it came as no surprise that 2019 data popular in Chinese media identified Shanghai and Beijing as the cities with the largest GDP, but few will even have heard of Xinyang, which was ranked 100th.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's national GDP reached a new high of CNY 90,031bn (USD 13,608) in 2018, but which other Chinese cities had the largest share of this GDP? Keep reading to find out.
by Matt Slater
13 August 2019
Visit any Chinese city these days and you are bound to see rows and rows of brightly colored shared bicycles - they are the most visible of the many China sharing services.
Whilst shared bicycles might be the most well known, they are far from the only popular shared service in China though.
Keep reading to learn more about how shared bicycles and some of the other popular China sharing services work, including battery packs, sports equipment and cars!
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?