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by Matt Slater
04 March 2016
Doing business in China can be a very complex and overwhelming process, especially when you receive what you are told is a critical China certificate but are unable to read Chinese.
Most of the really important certificates you should understand and verify are only available in Chinese, so unless you can read the language, or know someone who does, it can be difficult to determine what each China certificate is for and what vital information it contains.
This is where this article comes in handy – we have prepared this guide to help non-Chinese speakers identify and understand the important China certificates that they receive from Chinese companies.
This page aims to provide a quick and easy guide to help you identify between the different China certificate types and to then help you understand the information they contain – even if you don’t know Chinese.
We introduce 2 methods that can help you achieve this.
Usually the quickest and easiest method is to compare the China certificate your supplier has sent you with standard images of certificates in our gallery below.
However, because the appearance of certificates often changes over time as new versions are produced (this is especially true of the China business license) this process can be a little hit-and-miss.
Another factor adding to the difficulty is that the appearance of some certificates can vary depending on the province or authority that issued them.
Although reading the text on a China certificate may not be possible (unless you read Chinese), it is still easy to make out the certificate number as these are nearly always written using just letters and numbers.
Various China certificate types contain one or more registration/license/certificate numbers which range from as few as seven to as many as twenty digits, all representing different things. At the end of this guide we list and explain the most common numbers so you can identify which China certificate they come from.
If a Chinese supplier has just told you their business registration number(s) without providing any certification, this method is also useful to you.
Fortunately, there are some common certificates which include English text so there is no need for us to include photos of these in this guide. Here are some China certificate examples which you may have come across:
View our China certificate gallery below and compare with the documents provided by your Chinese supplier.
Unfortunately, fake documentation is not uncommon in China, so if you require verification of any of these certificates make sure you check out our online verification services.
If your Chinese supplier has provided you with a registration or license number but you aren’t sure what it is for, then hopefully the below guide will help.
Here we identify different China certificate numbers based on their length. Certificate numbers which are not of a standard length or form have not been included.
Merely identifying which China certificate you have received doesn’t prove that the document is either current or genuine. China Checkup frequently verifies China certificates that are found to have been either adjusted or completely faked.
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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.
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