How to Start a Company in China

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Doing the paperwork
Doing the paperwork (Image: business image by peter Hires Images from Fotolia.com)

China is one of the world's strongest economies. Some economists predict that China will overtake the United States as the world's leading economy within the near future. Over the past decades, China has loosened its economic policies to allow a limited range of entrepreneurship opportunities as well as greater economic freedoms than under the previous Communist-style economic system.

File for a pre-approval notice for your company name. You can pick up the application at the local Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC) office or download it from the website. If your company has shareholders, then all of them must sign the pre-approval form. If you go to the AIC office in person you will receive approval or rejection for the proposed company name while you are there.

Open a preliminary bank account. The minimum capital that is required to be deposited in the bank is set at CNY 30,000 ($4,388.19 USD). You must also obtain a certificate of deposit from the bank.

Contract with an audit firm, which will verify your company's capital. The audit firm will provide you with an audit document for capital verification for the rest of the registration process.

Register with the AIC and pay a registration fee of 0.08 percent of the start-up capital. A number of documents are needed for the registration certification: notice of approval for company's name, lease or proof of company office space, capital verification, articles of association, representation authorization, identity cards of shareholders and identification documents of officers, appointment and identification documents of the directors, supervisors, and officers within the company, appointment and identification documents of the company's legal representation. You will receive an approval or rejection notice from the AIC within 15 working days.

Obtain approval and make a company seal. You will need to take your business license duplicate to the police department, which will issue you a certificate of approval to make the company seal. Contract with a company that is permitted to carve company seals.

Apply for an organization code certificate from the Quality and Technology Supervision Bureau. This must be done within 30 days from being approved by the AIC. File an application with the Shanghai Organization Code Management Center along with your business license and the identity card of your legal representative.

Register with the Statistics Bureau. This must also be done within thirty days of receiving approval from the AIC. You must also file your business license copy and an organization code certificate copy with the Statistics Bureau.

Register for state or local taxes with the tax bureau. You must only register for one of the two taxation authorities within 30 days from receipt of approval from the AIC. Since state and local tax authorities share information, you are not required to register with both agencies. Once you register with one of them, the other will automatically be notified of your registration.

Open a formal bank account and transfer your registered capital. Procedures for doing this step will vary depending on which bank you register with.

Apply for authorization from the taxation authorities to print financial invoices and receipts. This must be done after registering with the taxation authorities, which will issue the invoice purchasing book.

Submit an application to purchase uniform invoices at the taxation office. This will help to protect you from forgery.

File for recruitment registration with the Career Service Center. This must be done within 30 days of recruiting new employees. Application forms can be obtained via the Internet from the Career Service Center's website.

Register with the Social Welfare Insurance Center. This must also be done within 30 days of receiving approval for the registration from AIC. To register with the Social Welfare Insurance Center, you must submit your company seal, business license copy, and organization code certificate copy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a timeline of the tasks you must do and the forms you need to complete to assist in organizing your workflow in setting up your business.

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