If you’re planning to venture into the Chinese market by opening a company in one of the big cities, like Hong Kong or Shanghai, you need to register your business with the local and state authorities (AIC – Administration of Industry and Commerce) present in China.
Documentation and legal requirement of each province and industrial area may differ according to the nature of your business. Therefore, hire a local business consultancy firm to assist in the registration process. Since most of the written documents and contracts are in Chinese, a local company will help you understand and complete the registration process in a seamless way.
Usually foreign-owned companies are required to provide the following documents during the registration process.
Completed registration application form for companies setting up within China
Companies that are expanding their branches in China need to fill-out an application to join the group of companies
Your company’s Article of Association
A legal person certificate that allows you to be a member of the new company
Parent’s company’s shareholder detail (shareholding certificate) or an investment certificate
Approval documents from authorities along with additional documents
You can use the list of AICs provided below to contact the local authorities of your region and get started with the registration process.
List of China's AICs
Shenzhen (深圳市红盾信息网): http://www.szaic.gov.cn/
Shanxi (山西红盾信息网): http://www.sxaic.gov.cn/
Shanghai (上海红盾信息网): http://www.sgs.gov.cn
Shandong (山东红盾信息网): http://www.sdaic.gov.cn/
Shaanxi (陕西工商红盾信息网): http://www.snaic.gov.cn/
Qinghai (青海红盾信息网): http://www.qhaic.gov.cn/
National (国家工商总局): http://www.saic.gov.cn
Jiangxi (江西红盾信息网): http://www.jxaic.gov.cn/
Jiangxi (广西红盾信息网): http://www.gxhd.com.cn/
Inner Mongolia (内蒙古红盾信息网): http://www.nmgs.gov.cn/
Hainan (海南红盾信息网): http://aic.hainan.gov.cn/
Fujian (福建工商红盾网): http://www.fjaic.gov.cn/
Chongqing (重庆红盾信息网): http://www.cqgs12315.cn
Chengdu (成都工商管理信息网): http://www.cdgs.gov.cn/
Beijing (北京红盾信息网): http://www.hd315.gov.cn
Xinjiang (新疆红盾信息网): http://www.xjaic.gov.cn/
Zhejiang (浙江省工商政务网): http://www.zjaic.gov.cn/
What does the registration number stand for?
Once you have approached the AIC, they will issue a 15-digit registration number on your business license. These digits can reveal a lot about your company and business.
Here is a complete breakdown of your China Business Registration Number.
The first six digits notify the registering authority, which provided you this 15-digit code, the next eight digits are the sequencing numbers and the final digit is the number used for verification of a company.
The first 6 digit of identify the code of the authority that issued your business a 15-digit code. This number can also be used to determine the location of the registration.
Sequencing Numbers - 顺序码
These 8-digits can differentiate between the nature and ownership of your company. Domestic companies will have a sequencing number from 0-3. Foreign-invested companies have a sequencing number starting with 4 or 5. And companies that have registered individually have a registration number starting from 6-9.
These numbers will lie in the beginning of the sequencing digits, not the beginning of your company’s registration number. Sequencing numbers provide a unique identity to your business, although, businesses in different jurisdiction can have the same 8-digit number.
In such cases, the registration number of the business will be differentiated with the first 6-digits of the registering authority and the final check digit.
The Check Digit
The check-digit plays a crucial role in determining the legitimacy of the China Business Registration number. When the final digit is processed, it can spot discrepancies, typos, and repetition in the registration number provided by your local AIC.
But be very careful when dealing with scammers and fraudulent business companies offering registration numbers without the necessary paperwork or processing. The check digit will not reveal anything, if a scammer simply copies the exact registration code. Furthermore, it’s very easy to calculate the correct check-digit, if you know the right computing formula.
An algorithm called mod 11, 10 algorithm (ISO 7064) or the GB/T 17710-1999 is used to calculate the check digit. Using the right formula, anyone can calculate a check-digit for your company. Therefore, be very careful when approaching consultants to help you out in the process.
Other Important Feature Of Your China Business Registration Number
The 15-digit registration number provided to your company also holds various special features, for example:
These numbers are unique on a national level.
There is no specific meaning to the number; higher number doesn’t provide special status to your business for example.
Once allotted this number can’t be changed.
A registration number can’t be transferred.
A change in the code of registering authority will not require a change in your business registration number. The new registration number allotted by the authority will include the new code.
The 18-Digit Registration Number - 统一社会信用代码
Effective from 1st October 2015, the registration number will include further detail about the type and nature of the business.
The Chinese government disregarded the old-system to incorporate a sophisticated registration system that met the demand of the changing business dynamics.
The new system offers a unified method to classify businesses with help of tax registration number and organization code. This number is also issued by the AIC and is also known as the ‘Unified Social Credit Code’.
The 18-digist number can be broken down into these elements.
The first-digit signifies the registration authority; the second-digit indicates the nature or entity-type of the company; the digits ranging from 3-8 are the region code; whereas, the next 9-17 digits signify the company code; lastly, the final digit stands for the check-digit.
Let’s discuss the new elements of the registration number.
The Registered Entity Type
The second digit will identify the nature or the entity-type of your business. For example, if your company is an enterprise the second number will be 1, or if it’s an individually-owned business it will be allotted the number 2.
The Organization Code
The digits mentioned in the 9-17 digit-slot will be your organization code. Companies that reapply for a new code need to surrender their previous organization code and tax registration certificates. But you will be surprised to find that your new organization code is actually similar to your old tax number.
China Company Registration Check
In order to determine the authenticity of a company, you need to conduct a company registration number check. Here is a simple, 3-step guide, to make the verification process easy and convenient.
Step 1: Check the Chinese name of the organization under consideration
Step 2: Determine the region or province of the company
Step 3: Use the AIC China Company Registration Check website to find necessary records of the company under consideration
How to Confirm the Chinese Name of a Company
It’s unlikely to find English names or company record of a registered organization in Mainland China. Few companies opt for English names. Those too are located in Hong Kong or other urbanized cities.
Chinese systems don’t resonate with other languages and data mining and running a check on the registration numbers becomes close to impossible, when dealing with English language.
Hence, an English name is not sufficient to run system check on the authenticity of a company, which is why many companies keep an unofficial English name for business dealing in other parts of the world, but in China they are registered with a proper Chinese name.
If you’re not fluent in Chinese, determining and verifying a Chinese Company Name can be a difficult process. You can either inquire the Chinese company that you’re dealing with to provide verification of their Business License. If this approach is too intrusive or direct, request a copy of their Business License.
Once you’ve received your copy, try looking for the following Chinese symbols, 名称. The name of the Chinese company will be mentioned after this heading. Use this to verify the business.
Determining the Location, Region or Province
Since the year 2016, companies can easily search the region of any company located in the Mainland with help of the new and improved "National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System”. You can easily inquire the region of a business, without specifying the process in the search engine. But the drawback of this national-level system is that it’s not updated as the provincial systems. This makes verification of province necessary, when dealing with a Chinese company.
This process can be a little time consuming because of the sheer size of the People’s Republic of China. Each Chinese province is a country on its own, which makes location verification a painstaking job.
But, thanks to modern technology and search engine the verification process has been streamlined. The structuring of the name of a Chinese company is done in a way that it begins with the location of the registered company.
Here is the Chinese character that indicates ‘省’ province and here is the Chinese character that identifies city ‘市’.
If the name itself identifies the province, half the verification is already done for you, but if the Chinese company name begins with name of a specific city, you need to follow certain verification steps:
Let’s begin with the easiest, if the Chinese company name identifies a provincial municipality, all you need to do is approach the local AIC of that area to verify the location.
If the company’s name begins with city, you need to make use of the internet to determine the province of the city; the said business is registered in.
If the name begins with a county, you need to first find the province in which the county is located, next identify the city to determine with AIC body has authority over the said business.
Once, you’ve mapped out the location; get ready to search for further company detail.
Find Company's Record, Using the China Company Registration Check Website
Once the Chinese name and location are at your disposal, use this information to lookup the details of the company.
The overseas access to the AIC’s China company registration check website
is restricted for some regions, which makes the verification process bothersome for many businesses. If you have cleared this obstacle, look for the province your Chinese company is located in.
In order to make website navigation and identification easier for you, here is a list
of Chinese Province and their Chinese Character. Use this list to identify the region of the company you’re looking for.
Once you have selected the province, lookup the Chinese name of the company under consideration. The company’s registration number, mentioned on the copy of their Business License can also be used to search the system.
The website will prompt some verification notification to ensure that you’re not a robot, follow the instruction to clear the security check. After security clearance, you can access the company information. Keep in mind that AIC website has data to all, active and non-active, companies so be careful in the verification process.
For an easy and hassle-free verification of Business Registration Number, get in touch with Business China. Whether you want to register a company in China, open a Registered Office Start a Joint Venture, or Verify a China-based Company, we can streamline all process and paperwork requirement for you.
Our China-based team, who fluently speaks English, will do all the verification, documentation and legal work for you. All you need to do is send us an email
and we will get back to you with a simple solution within 24-hours.
In addition to registration and incorporation of foreign businesses, we also offer premium accounting and company management services to all our clients. Call +86-020-2917 9715
to avail our services.