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ICP Licensing: How to Start Your Chinese Business off Strong

Promising untapped markets are emerging all over China. As companies race to break into the new business climate, ICP Licensing is in growing demand. With rules and regulations constantly changing, and an overwhelming amount of Chinese paperwork, the registration process can get confusing. Nevertheless, completing this step is a fundamental part of your successful game plan, and we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ve taken Incorp China’s 30+ years of professional ICP license registration experience and created an all-you-need-to-know-guide on how to properly establish a competitive web presence in any mainland region.

Beware: This is a fragile and crucial part of your company’s success. The process is not to be taken lightly, although there are certain service providers out there who treat it so in order to make a quick buck or yuan. Pay attention to the points provided and we will teach you how to do it right.

 

First things first:

As in all Chinese business, cultivating strong relationships is step one. Registering your license involves proving to the government that your intentions are pure, that your site is worthy of hosting, and that you can operate within the boundaries of Chinese law.

No book or website can fully prepare you for this process. Sure you can google a nice flowchart, but the business culture in the east is rooted in a social system more delicate than any western country.

Certain steps absolutely require a Chinese contact. For example, certain user registrations require an input on SMS verification codes which only send to China-based numbers. Furthermore, not all registration sites accept international payment methods.

As your documents are filled out and translated from region to region, a trusted cultural insider will quickly become your most valuable research tool.

See why Incorp China is the right relationship for you here.

 

Now, let’s get specific…

What is an ICP License?

An ICP (Internet Content Provider) License is a permit, applicable to legally registered companies, issued by the MIIT (Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) that permits websites to operate in China. It is a key piece in your site going live, one between purchasing a hosting and creating your domain.

 

Does every business need an ICP License?

If your goal is to launch a website using a server hosted in China or on a Chinese content delivery network, an ICP License is mandatory.

However, say you are a US company hosting your website in America. The Chinese consumer is merely a fraction of your target market. Is it possible for your website to function, for Chinese consumers to view your content without an ICP License?

The answer is yes, but anticipate firewall blockage and don’t expect a fast-loading website.

Note: In Hong Kong, thanks to a more western style set of laws, entering the online playing field can be a smoother process.

Learn more about the benefits of opening your company in Hong Kong here.

 

Which ICP License is right for my business?

There are two types:

1. Commercial License

A commercial license is for companies offering goods or services to customers chiefly online. Its parameters are strict and swift:

• Commercial ICPs are almost never issued to companies with any foreign investment.
• Therefore, you must be a completely Chinese-owned business.

2. Bei An (Filing) License

The ICP Bei An license is the standard license, available to foreign-owned entities: Representative Offices (RO), Joint Ventures (JV), or Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises (WOFE). All mainland China hosted sites must obtain one before they begin any business online.

Given that our company assists non-Chinese businesses in entering the market, this is the license we will focus on.

 

How do I get an ICP Bei An License:

Within the category of Bei An licenses, there are two ways to go:

A. Proxy Process

This is the only option for companies that do not have a physical entity present in the country. It allows you to nominate a locally-registered Chinese company to hold the domain for you as a proxy.

With this plan, you take on additional risk. Because you are linked with entities other than your own, if the proxy becomes blocked for any reason, it’s game over for everyone with no way back in.

B. Direct Process

This plan ensures the highest possible control over your site. The process is slightly longer, but ultimately worth it for companies serious about their Chinese presence.

When a client needs this license, here’s what happens in flow chat form followed by a more clear explanation:

Chinese ICp licensing process, ICP License,

• We translate and submit the required documents to your web provider
– In review, additional documents may be required
– When approved, your provider sends the documents to MIIT

• MIIT reviews your ICP license application documents
– When approved, we will be notified via our Chinese phone number
– Within twenty days, you will have received a registration number

• We apply for a PSB (Public Security Bureau) ICP Filing
– We have thirty days to apply after receiving the number
– Once again, the documents must be submitted in Chinese

• We submit the documents to start accessing China-based web services
– With the license, you can now purchase hosting and CDN services
– Finally, you are able to register for a .cn domain

Note: Failure to keep the information you submitted to MIIT up-to-date can result in fines or complete cancellation of your ICP license.

Once your site is up and running, the license numbers will be displayed in the website footer.  Check out this example:

ICP Licensing footnote example picture Michael Korswww.michaelkors.cn

At this point, local competition knows you are serious about your sales and ready to compete. Your fast-loading website will keep customers around and partners engaged, and all the paperwork will be worth it.

Ready to get started? Call now for a consultation with an IncorpChina team member, and establish your most important relationship in China success. +1 561 729 6508 | info@incorpchina.com

#icplicensing #businessinchina #chinesemarket

 

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business registration in china

The Transformational Trend: Why China is the place to be and how to start your business there

Why bring your business to China?

The future of China’s economy has never looked this bright. With a thriving middle class, a new wide-spread consumerist approach to spending, and increasing liberalization, China is now home to a wide variety of promising untapped markets.

Since the late 1980s and 1990s, China’s economy has been executing significant reform to the state-owned industry. Upon the passage of The Company Law in 1993, limited liability companies were approved, and firms were able to retain a share of their profits. As a result, private ownership increased rapidly. By 2005 it accounted for about 70% of China’s gross domestic product.

Among reforms, China established an unprecedented manufacturing presence as a result of highly competitive pricing and sheer production power. After dominating our global economy as the world’s largest exporter of goods since 2009, China’s focus now shifts from expansion to stability, that is back to service and consumption.

Amidst all this economic activity, China’s middle class has boomed. With a current urban population of around 800 million people, that is only going to grow, 54% percent are expected to be the upper-middle class by 2022.
Take a look:

China’s Middle Class as Percent of Urban Households, doing business in china

At this point, the economy’s growth has slowed. However, China is still ahead of their goal to double GDP between 2010 and 2020 and more industries are open to investment than ever before.
See below China’s GDP yearly growth since 2008 and China’s GDP annual growth rate over the last four years, respectively:

 

 

 

 

 

Even with a declining growth rate, China’s economy is still expanding at a rate three times higher than that of the US.

This is merely the start of China’s rebalancing. Economic prosperity is spreading as wages rise and workers demand better treatment. Furthermore, the quality of life is improving thanks to upgrades in transportation, health standards, and a wealth of technological advancements.

Increased opportunity and success is leading to higher disposable incomes and ideal target markets as the new Chinese consumer emerges, ready to spend. See below China’s consumer spending trend over the last ten years:

 

 

What is driving the Chinese consumer? Markets dealing with luxury items and services are bursting with opportunity and demand.

Interest continues to increase in:
• technological products
• luxury brands
• cosmetics
• nutritional care
• trendy foods
• high-quality goods
• entertainment
• travel

Get specific: See why Hong Kong is a great place to start

“The time is now. Be part of the process as China becomes tomorrow’s economic powerhouse.”
Ready to expand your business and break into China’s upcoming markets? Call now for a consultation with an IncorpChina team member, and establish your most important relationship in China success. +1 561 729 6508 | info@incorpchina.com
#chinesebusiness #chineseculture #whychina #chineseindustry #RO #JV #WOFE #chineseeconomy #GDP #thenewconsumer #culturaldifferences #chinesemarket #economictrends #AIC

e-chops, echops, chinese company seal, company chop, company chops, chinese chops, chops

E-chop—Pioneer for Paperless

“Please have the company chop on the paper we received from the government and then send the original ones to us ASAP.” Are you familiar with above words in emails to some degree?

In China, the Government requires companies to have a “corporate seal” called Chops. Similar to the signature from an authorized representative in western countries, these corporate chops are the way to register official transactions, submit documentation, and validate paperwork in China. The body is where you bring more details about the subject or the problem. There’s a huge amount of paperwork required from the Chinese government, so company chops are typically used. However, to meet Chinese sustainable developmental regulations, the relevant department encourages a paperless environment. To adapt to this demand, the e-chop option becomes the ideal application. E-chop is the digital version of its physical counterpart and can be used with the same effectiveness as a paper Chop. E-chop is created by electronic seal technology which takes the place of the traditional physical seal.

While some people still use the traditional seals, the use of this electronic version is growing, and the full implementation and use is a matter of time. For instance, two-thirds of tax bureaus in Guangdong Province have adopted the e-chop system. More than 2 million documents are processed each year and the administrative costs saved equal about 5 million in RMB with an additional 35% increase in the comprehensive office efficiency. There are a variety of chops for different uses. While for some the process can be overwhelming and time-consuming, Incorp China can navigate it for you, reducing unnecessary interaction with Government offices.

Incorp China has provided expertise and personalized service for the past 30 years. Let us grow your business.

10 steps to authenticate your U.S. documents to be used in China

This might be something you have not given a whole lot of thought in the past. However, Chinese authentication of US documents is required with almost every application process you will encounter on the road of opening your own China business entity. Registration of an entity in China requires documentation preparation in the US and China. We will help you with documentation preparation in both the US and China saving you time and money. Having your American documents authenticated by the Chinese Consulate means they have passed the official screening to be used in China.

Failing to prepare your foreign documents may result in the delay or refusal of your applications. Here’s a guide on how you can complete this initial process in ten steps:

1. Identify documents

At first, you will need to select the documents that need legalization and clarify who is the legal representative/applicant for the company.

2. Notarization

There are some instances in which the US documents need to be notarized. In this case, we have a specialized legal services providers network to help you in completing this step easily.

3. Fill out document authentication form

Your legal representative/applicant (as defined in step one) now has to fill out and sign the Chinese application for document authentication. Because forms may vary, depending on in which state you want to apply for US document authentication, visit the respective state’s Chinese consulate website to find the correct form.

For the New York China consulate, e.g. you can find the document here: http://newyork.china-consulate.org/chn/fwzc/cgbg/P020171201186551196801.pdf

(Leave section 1 and 7 blank. Have legal representative/applicant sign twice in section 8 (top and bottom). We fill out section 7 and sign as the agent in section 8.)

4. Compile supporting documents

The next step is to obtain a copy of the following supporting documents:

  • The legal representative’s/applicant’s passport
  • Company’s certificate of existence and good standing
  • Articles of incorporation

5. Submit the documents

Submit the documents that need to be legalized by the State Department or Secretary of State to be certified. Some states require to authenticate the documents through the county’s clerk office before submitting them to the State Department or Secretary of State, so be sure to check.

6. Keep a record

Once the documents are certified by the State Department (and possibly the county clerk’s office) make a photocopy of them for your own records as well as the next step.

7. Submit the docs to the Consulate

Go to the Chinese consulate or embassy and submit the originals as well as the photocopies of the certified documents along with the application for the authentication and supporting documents.

8. Get a receipt

The consulate will issue a receipt with the total owed and the pick-up date for your documents.

9. Collect your authenticated documents

Return on the pick-up date with the receipt, pay the amount owed and process to then collect your authenticated documents.

10. Verify that all the documents have been authenticated

Once you’ve completed all the steps above, verify that all your documents have been authenticated. In case we have completed this process for you, we would then ship the authenticated documents back to you, our client, or wherever you want them shipped.

 

If you have any questions or would like to get a free consultation from us, simply email info@incorpchina.com or call +1 (561) 729 6508.

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Continue with 7 Benefits of Opening Up a Company in Hong Kong:

 

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China’s 3-in-1 license

What is the 3-in-1 license?

The 3-in-1 license is a new format of the business license currently in existence. By the end of the calendar year 2017, all original business licenses must be updated in order for the company to be able to continue operating. The updated business license will merge three company certificates – the firms’s business license, tax certificate and organization code – that had to be issued separately so far. As a result, your company will officially run under a single social credit code.

 

Why implement such a change?

This new legislation is being enforced only months after the government’s update of the fapiao system. (Read more about that here.) Both legislative changes follow the common goal of better communication between government bureaus, streamline official procedures and ensure a more centralized supervision of all companies.

 

How to switch from a standard business license to the new model?

There are nine steps to updating your business license.

  1. Prepare your application, consisting of an Application Form, Application Report, your current business license, tax certificate and organization code certificate.
    This application then has to be submitted to multiple institutions in order to update their record.
  2. The Commercial and Industrial Administration Bureau will be the first to receive your application.
  3. Upon approval by CIAB, the documents have to be submitted to both the local Tax Bureau and National Tax Bureau, to update their records
  4. After getting approval from the above tax bureaus, the Market and Quality Supervision Commission will need to be updated
  5. Then, all banks your company is holding accounts with have to be notified by providing them with the approved documents
  6. At the local Foreign Exchange Registration Bureau, your Foreign Exchange Registration Certificate has to be updated with your new business license
  7. Your new information will also be captured in your Financial Registration Certificate at the Finance Bureau
  8. Afterwards, the Social Insurance Bureau…
  9. …and lastly, the Housing Fund Bureau will have to be updated.

All in all, this will take a few weeks to complete. The new business license model is mandatory for all types of business entities, apart from self-employed individuals.

 

Does this apply to every region equally?

In Shenzhen and Zhejiang Province, the 3-in-1 license will technically be a 5-in-1 license, also replacing the Social Security Registration Certificate as well as the Statistics Registration Certificate. Shanghai and Guangzhou, however, decided to abandon the Statistics Registration Certificate altogether. Beijing-based companies benefit from an extended transition period, ending with the calendar year 2020. Some provinces do handle their transitions with slight variations, however generally the updated legislation affects businesses across China equally.

Why go through all the hassle by yourself? Incorp China will happily assist you with your move from a standard business license to the updated 3-in-1 model. Your top priority is to look after your everyday business. It is ours to support you.

In case you have any questions or are looking for a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call us or write us an email: +1 (561) 729 6508, info@incorpchina.com.

We do much more than just looking for your business license!

Have a look at our different services here.

Or read about how we can help you open a bank account – even under tightening restrictions for foreigners – here!

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