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Business Services

Updating Company Certificates

When establishing and setting up a business in China, it is in the company’s best interest to obtain the various and applicable certificates and stamps/seals to become a licensed business. For WFOE (Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprises) particularly, these various certificates and stamps/seals are required in the company’s dealings and many foreign investors confused about their usage.

Setting-up a company in China requires the handling of several certificates:

  • Certificate of Approval 

Purpose: The certificate provides the approval needed foreign investors for to set up a company in the local city. It identifies and expresses the relationship between the investors and the company. It is often used as proof of the investors’ ownership of the company.

Issuer: Local Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce

Processing Time: 5-14 working business days

  • Business License

PurposeCompanies can commence business operations, recruit staff, sign contracts etc. in its own name once a Business License is acquired. Business License specifies the business scope and operation period of company. When the company is issued a business license, they receive their business license in the form of a certificate.

Issuer: Local Bureau of State Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC)

Processing time: 5 – 10 Working Business Days

What Information is contained on a China Business License?

  • Official Company Name
  • Registration Number
  • Registered Address
  • Business Type
  • Established Date
  • License Expiry Date
  • Legal Representative
  • Registered Capital
  • Paid-up Capital
  • Business Scope
  • Registration Bureau

If any changes to this information occur, it needs to be reported to the authority and you will be asked to update your business license or get a new one, depending on the modified section.

Note: The AIC announced the release of a new version of the business License with Credibility Code, which came into effect on 1st Oct. 2015. The newest version of the business License with Credibility Code came into effect on 1st Oct 2015 as announced by the AIC. The deadline for all the existing companies to change the certificates would be 31st December 2020.

  • Temporary Business License

Purpose: Allows operations to continue while companies wait for an injection of capital. To be approved for the full business license, capital must have entered the company (See capital verification audit). The business licenses are a confirmation that the company is a legally incorporated entity and can commence business operations, sign contracts, recruit staff etc. under its own name.

Issuer: Local Bureau of State Administration of Industry and Commerce

Processing time: 5 – 10Working Business Days

Validity: Until capital is injected

  • Organization Registration Certificate/ Organization Code Certificate

Purpose: The Organisational Registration Code is given to a company as, essentially, a company identification number. The code will be used when the company is dealing with various bureaus and government authorities, e.g. tax filling, opening of bank accounts, imports and exports etc.

Issuer: Local Technology Quality Supervisory Bureau

Processing time: 1-10 Working Business Days

Validity: Between 1-3 years

  • Tax registration certificate

Purpose: It is an approval certificate from the state and local taxation bureaus that issued as evidence of tax registration with the tax authority

Issuer: Local State Taxation Bureau

Processing time: 3-10 working business days

  • Financial Registration Certificate

Purpose: It is evident that the enterprise has properly registered with the finance bureau [Local Bureau of the Finance Ministry]. It is used when the entity is applying for financial subsidies.

Issuer: Local Finance Bureau

  • Bank Opening Certificate 

Purpose: The China Bank Account Certificate is a permit that allows Mainland China-registered companies to open a corporate bank account and conduct financial business in China.

  • Other Certificates of WFOE
    • Foreign Exchange Registration Certificate, issued by State Administration of Foreign Exchange
    • Customs Registration Certificate, issued by Customs Bureau
    • Statistics Registration Certificate, issued by Statistics Bureau

Applying for and renewing certificates ensures that your qualifications are up-to-date and that your company is putting its best foot forward not only with prospective clients but in general. As we at LehmanBrown recognise this process is often time-consuming and exasperating, we provide services so your business can focus on its core operations.

To make an enquiry or to make an inquiry, please contact us at enquiries@lehmanbrown.com

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