Safer, Better Business in China

Opinions, knowledge and resources from China Checkup's expert contributors


Unified Social Credit Code

What is the Unified Social Credit Code?

by Matt Slater 27 August 2018

If you've dealt with Chinese companies in recent years there is a good chance you will have come across the term "Unified Social Credit Code".

This unique 18-digit number is issued to all companies and organizations in Mainland China and serves a variety of purposes.

In this article we provide practical information about the Unified Social Credit Code and explain how you can find each Chinese company's unique number.

What Does "Unified Social Credit Code" Mean?

This term is used in Mainland China to describe each Chinese company or organization's unique registration number.

In Chinese it is called:

统一社会信用代码
Tǒngyī shèhuì xìnyòng dàimǎ

The name "Unified Social Credit Code" is simply a direct translation of the Chinese term into English and is often abbreviated as "USCC".

Because it is a translation however, we have also seen it translated in many other ways, including:

  • Unified Social Credit Number / USCN
  • Unified Social Credit Indicator / USCI
  • Uniform Social Credit Code

On our website and in our verification services however, we usually refer to it as simply the "Business Registration Number" as, despite its elaborate name, that is the main purpose it holds.

Who Has a Unified Social Credit Code?

All companies and organizations registered in Mainland China must have a unified social credit code.

This includes all types of Chinese companies, even sole traders, as well as organizations such as schools, hospitals and charities.

Note that organizations registered in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan do not have this code as, when it comes to registration, they are each separate jurisdictions.

What Does the Unified Social Credit Code Look Like?

It is always an 18-digit code comprised mainly of numbers, but can also include some letters.

To give you a clearer idea, here are some examples of the Unified Social Credit Code for some famous Chinese companies:

9144030071526726XG - Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

91110000710926094P - China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation

91310000631696382C - Baoshan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd.

Despite being a Chinese system there are no Chinese characters used. Each of the digits contained within the Unified Social Credit Code are derived from a combination of various systems, hence the word "unified".

For more technical details about how the code read this article, but in basic form, this table shows how the 18-digit code is created: 

 

Who Issues a Unified Social Credit Code?

This code can be issued by a wide range of Chinese authorities, depending on the type of organization being registered. 

As you can see from the table above, the very first number of an organization's Unified Social Credit Code actually indicates which authority they were registered by.

For companies, i.e. the majority of cases, the code is issued by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) who are represented by the number 9 - and this is why most Chinese companies' Unified Social Credit Code starts with "9".

Why was the Unified Social Credit Code Developed?

In recent years, Chinese authorities have made great progress in streamlining their services to reduce red tape and make the process of company registration more efficient.

Whereas previously each company had a separate business license number, tax registration number, organization code and statistical registration number etc. (plus certificates for each), these days a single certificate displaying the Unified Social Credit Code is sufficient.

Given the astonishing number of companies in China, we found that the roll-out of this system was handled very competently.

How to Find a Company's Unified Social Credit Code

Based on our experience, the majority of Chinese companies are now familiar with the Unified Social Credit Code, although some confusion exists in how to explain it to clients in English.

Here are a number of ways to identify a Chinese company's Unified Social Credit Code:

1. Just Ask!

The easiest way to find a Chinese supplier's code is simply to ask. In most cases a Chinese company should be more than happy to provide their registration number to current or potential clients.

 

Verify a China Company?

Order online & get peace of mind

Mainland China Company Verification Reports
Cost: from $129 USD
Turnaround: from 1 working day



 

2. From their Business License

The Unified Social Credit Code is prominently displayed on a Mainland China company's business license besides the characters "统一社会信用代码".

Take a look at the image below - here the code has been blurred out, but this is where it can be found.

China Business License

3. From Other Documents & Certificates

In China, use of the Unified Social Credit Code has become almost universal, and we are finding the code being displayed on a wider and wider range of company certificates.

The most striking example is on China's system of legal receipts, "Fapiao", which requires the code to be displayed along with the official company name.

Other examples we have seen include some Chinese ISO9001 certificates and on newer versions of the Chinese Foreign Trade Registration Certificate

4. Online Search

Here are a few options for searching for the code online:

China Company Registration Search Website

The Unified Social Credit Code can be found by searching China's National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System if you enter the company's name in Chinese.

Alibaba

Chinese companies who have undergone "Online Check" display the Unified Social Credit Code here:

Global Sources

This is one of the alternative China sourcing websites to Alibaba. The code is displayed in their "Independently Verified Information" section:

5. Verify with China Checkup

Our range of China company verification reports make verifying a Chinese company quick and easy. 

Each of our reports include identification of the company's Unified Social Credit Code, alongside a wide range of other vital company information.

View our China Company Verification services now.



Matt Slater
Matt Slater

Author

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.

  



Also in Safer, Better Business in China

List of 100+ Informative China News Websites
List of 100+ Informative China News Websites

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.

Continue Reading

The 100 Largest China City Economies by GDP
The 100 Largest China City Economies by GDP

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.

Continue Reading

10 Most Popular China Sharing Services
10 Most Popular China Sharing Services

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!

Continue Reading