The possibility of finding details on offshore Chinese companies depends primarily on the jurisdiction in which they are registered.
Such companies aren't registered in China, so registration information isn't going to be found there. It is necessary to identify the country in which they are registered and lookup details on that country's system.
This article provides guidance, and lists useful resources, for getting registration information about offshore Chinese companies.
There are many possible definitions, but we understand an offshore Chinese company to be an entity owned/controlled by a Chinese individual or company, which is registered outside of China.
China is a place with multiple jurisdictions, so we are not talking about companies registered in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.
Offshore Chinese companies can literally be registered anywhere. Some Chinese companies we have been asked to verify turned out to be registered in places as diverse as Australia, British Virgin Islands, Malaysia, Seychelles and the UK.
In many cases however, we find that the owners of an Onshore Chinese company have also registered an offshore company under the same name (including a Chinese version), often with an associated offshore bank account in Mainland China.
This was the case recently when we verified a "Hangzhou" company, which we found was actually registered in the UK.
In such circumstances we can often verify whether or not there is an associated onshore entity for the offshore Chinese company.
As we mentioned earlier, the availability of information on offshore Chinese companies depends on where they are registered.
If you can identify which jurisdiction the company is registered in, you should in most cases be able to lookup their company information.
Note that data is not always available in English and many countries will charge a fee or have a time-consuming application process for accessing information.
Below are some online resources we have previously used to find details on offshore Chinese companies.
The following websites are each country-specific and are listed in alphabetical order.
Australian Business Register - ABN Lookup
Australian Securities & Investments Commission
|British Virgin Islands||BVI Financial Services Commission||English|
|Cayman Islands||General Registry||English|
|Japan||National Tax Agency||English, Japanese|
|Malaysia||The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)||English, Malay|
|New Zealand||Companies Register||English|
|Samoa||Samoa Business Registry||English|
|Singapore||Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority - BizFile||English|
|Switzerland||Business Monitor||English, French, German|
|Thailand||Department of Business Development||English, Thai|
|USA - Delaware||Delaware Division of Corporations||English|
We'll add other websites to this list as and when we find and have used them. You can also take a look at the UK government's list of overseas registries if you can't find the one you are looking for here.
Do you know of any other resources for getting details of offshore Chinese companies? If so, we'd love to hear from you!
We often come across China company English names which we feel are misleading.
They are misleading for a number of reasons - some accidental, some deliberate, some cynical - but the root cause is that companies from Mainland China are registered in the Chinese language, not in English.
Here we give some background on China company English names and introduce the 5 ways in which we find they can be misleading.
China Customs Enterprise Classification is a system used by China Customs to grade companies which engage in foreign trade.
Following a long implementation phase, a new classification system was confirmed in May 2018. It had been updated primarily to reflect China's broader implementation of a nationwide social credit system in recent years..
Under the new China Customs Enterprise Classification system, companies are no longer ranked AA, A, B, C or D - there are now 4 different categories which are introduced in this article.
If you're travelling to meet or dealing with a Chinese company it is worth bearing in mind that there are several different types of Chinese currency.
Depending on whether your business is in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan you could well need to be looking at 4 different exchange rates.
Here we introduce each of the 4 Chinese currency currently in use in "Greater China" - the Renminbi, Hong Kong Dollar, Macau Pataca & New Taiwan Dollar.