Compared to the fast-paced explicit processes which dominate Western business, starting a company in China can be a headache. Combine extensive legal work with a social system opposite of your own and even the most experienced businessmen and women are in for a challenge.
However, establishing a presence in China continues to be a profitable move for entities in every business sector. With endless resources at your disposal, how to begin gets confusing. We’ve stripped away all the particulars and provided you with a basic idea.
The following list highlights five steps that your business needs to properly complete before beginning operations in China.
Think about how your business will fit into each section and most importantly, think of the relationships you can and will establish along the way. To succeed, you need sturdy connections to lean on during every step. Finally, be patient. Remember everything takes time in Chinese business culture.
Begin by investigating the industry and areas you are interested in. Government officials publish a five-year plan stating the specific kinds of businesses they are looking for. Make sure to use it.
When you have an idea of the best place for your business, take a trip. Don’t stay in one place; compare other regions. Start making observations. Attend trade shows. Network.
There are three kinds of business entities you can register for. Consider your particular business scope and decide which entity will supply you with the most opportunity and least amount of risk. The three potential business entities are:
i. Representative Office (RO)
– significantly limits what your company can do
– easiest to open
ii. Joint Venture (JV)
– your Chinese partner will have a home field advantage
– JVs create greater risk should the partnership fail
– only entity in which a “restricted” business can operate
– less limitation
iii. Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE)
– allows foreign entrepreneurs to own 100% of the company
– requires an extensive set-up process with registered capital
– can operate as trading and retail companies
Be precise but be broad. Once your business plan has been finalized, you are only able to operate within its guidelines.
Note: Protecting your intellectual property is important. If you plan to trademark your company or product, act early and do so in both Chinese and English.
Necessary documents can vary depending on where and with who you are doing business. Be sure to comply with the regulations specific to your location. The documents must be converted to Chinese by a reliable translation company. Applications can take up to 90 days to be approved.
Once you have approval, you have 30 days to register with the Chinese Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) and apply for a business license. Once you have the license, you will be able to open a Chinese bank account.
With these five steps complete, you have solidified a foundation. Now it is time to focus on the particulars. Exactly which way to go next will depend on your specific business plan. Again, this can get confusing; but Incorp China is here to help. Whether your next step is filing a trademark, registering for an ICP License, or finding a general manager and employees you can trust, we know how to get it done right.
“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 | [email protected]
Without any discussion, money and time are the most valued resource for business. For western companies, traveling to china can be an investment due to the utilization of this two resources. Think about the costs of traveling, lodge, transportation, and the time spent on meetings or any process like registration and permits application. This case is about how one of our clients has saved through our effective negotiations.
In this case we are not talking about the fees involved to get paperwork filled out and submitted to register a WOFE. We are talking about the clients’ travelling expenses to personally sign the documents in order to get them approved.
It just so happened that a US client of ours, a jewellery manufacturer, had to fly to China for business reasons unrelated to us. While his WOFE application was pending and his licenses were being processed, the company did not officially exist yet in China. However, Incorp China believes in seizing opportunities. Since the client was already on the ground we decided to visit a local bank branch who we frequently work with. Could we open up a bank account for the soon-to-be company saving the jewellery manufacturer the fare for a second trip across the world?
Usually it is absolutely impossible (even as a local Chinese) to get a bank account opened without the corresponding business license. With our local Chinese staff and a lot of patience, networking and preparation we were able to convince them how detrimental it is to this business to sign the required legal documents for a bank account right away. The bank account would be pending the readiness of the business license and tax certificate and be officially opened once both the WOFE business license and the tax certificate were approved.
If your company needs to get a service done quick, we will give it our best to deliver – just because, against all odds, it sometimes actually works. In this case we saved our client a few thousand US Dollars and a lot of personal time.
Read more about how we solve problems opening up bank accounts for foreigners
Convinced? Then take advantage of a free consultation! Call us today: +1 (561) 729 6508
We always look to provide the best support to our clients, but due its size, China can be an overwhelming country , so we understand when our clients are hindered to come directly to our office in Shenzhen. Just recently, one of our clients, a paper products manufacturer, was looking into moving part of his manufacturing process to the South West region of China. Since the team of three was on a strict time schedule they were not able to come to Shenzhen personally in order to meet with Incorp China’s team to discuss the bureaucracy behind such a move.
Therefore, Incorp’s CEO, Robert Fisch and two of his team members took a train, planning to meet the client in the city close to where they were looking at potential factories looking to provide an appropriate support. Since it is hard to stick to a specific time schedule with factory visits, the Incorp team needed to come to the airport to catch the client shortly before they would fly back to the US. Thankfully, everything worked out and the US clients had over an hour to discuss the procedures behind setting up an entity in China with Incorp China. A Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WOFE) would allow the client to invoice other Chinese factories, in the local currency, Renminbi.
Taking such a long trip simply to meet a potential client might seem like an odd allocation of company resources. Incorp China, however, has built its success on establishing personal relationships and providing the quality service and support our clients deserve. Going the extra mile for our clients shows that we truly care and are prepared to help, no matter the obstacles.
Incorp China is about much more than just serving clients. We want to be a long term partner and support system to all our clients and bridge the gap between the Eastern and Western business world. Flexibility plays a huge factor in that, especially since China can be unpredictable in terms of its rules, regulations, and conditions for foreign enterprises. We have the experience and are prepared to deal with these challenges. Incorp China will assist you no matter where you are from, where in China you want to operate and how big or small your mission might be.
Are currently looking into expanding or moving your business to China? Let us do your paper work for you – so you can fully concentrate on your business. Call us for a free consultation today at +1 (561) 729 6508, or write us an email at [email protected]. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Want to know how Incorp China help saving an oil platform? Click HERE to read the story.
It is no secret that the recent crackdown on money laundering has left foreigners struggling to open a bank account in China. As a result, it has become even more beneficial for foreigners, seeking to move or extend their business to China, to consult an agent on the ground. The reason why there are so many China consultancies on the market is because it’ is quite challenging as well as time and labor intensive to get a company approved. Only a few of these China consultants are as committed as Incorp China, connecting with the government bureaus and banks, forming friendships, and therefore getting our clients the service they deserve.
One of our most recent clients, a US software security company, had to open up a bank account after his company license had been approved. In order to do just that, our team went to one of the bigger China Construction Bank (CCB) branches located not too far from our office. Unfortunately, since banks had tightened their requirements over the past couple of months, our first request was denied. Why, is open for speculation.
As Robert Fisch, Incorp China’s CEO did not want our client to have to fly back to China in order to give it another try at another bank, he went into the branch again with two members of his team. At the CCB branch, he found the employee who had refused our application, talked to her, and tried to find out why our client got refused and what we could do to fix it. When this did not work out, he managed to find the account manager.
The account manager, respectful and courteous as the Chinese treat their guests, offered us tea and his time in the staff kitchen. There, the Incorp China team and he talked, tea, took pictures and we each showed interest in each others’ jobs, cultures, and languages. After a while, the account manager promised to help us in every way he could, but that he would first need to get approval from the branch manager. She, luckily, was on site this day.
The account manager was incredibly friendly and helpful and introduced us to the branch manager, who agreed to see us immediately. Again, the Incorp team were offered tea, we talked in the CCB branch manager’s office about this and that – starting with small talk but ending up talking about family, the beauty of China and how rapidly it has evolved in the past decades. The manager did not, however, clearly state how she was going to help us, despite being very friendly and enthusiastic about our visit. Nevertheless, she did make sure to let us know that she wanted to assist us in the process.
When we went to visit the branch a second time, the mood was slightly more dampened and the odds did not look like they were in our favor. Even a long meeting, talking about all the technicalities of the bank account opening procedure, did not change or clarify anything.
Unfortunately, for the following couple of days, there was honestly more confusion than progress. Nobody could really tell us what had gone wrong, what we needed to do to get the process going, or whether, in the end, they couldn’t do anything for us at all.
Therefore, our CEO headed back into the branch and had a meeting with all managers he could find on site together. After, yet again, some tea and chatter, the situation looked a lot better. We finally got a hint of what had gone wrong, and after ensuring the team at the bank branch that we would love to bring them more business, they understood that we were as serious about the legislations as they are. They agreed to restart the bank account opening process all over again – a clean slate – without the head of the client’s company having to travel to China again.
While this was time-consuming for our team, it got us connected with the CCB branch team near us, taught us yet another lesson about China’s bank requirements, and reminded us that with friendliness, patience, and a true passion for our field, every problem can be resolved. We are thankful for all of the China Construction Bank team’s time and effort and their dedication to their clients. Even more so we are proud to have resolved this issue for our clients and helped them to the best of our ability.
The trick to why all of these meetings with the managers of the bank’s branch where possible, and ultimately why they listened to us, was for Incorp China’s boss to speak Mandarin fluently. His China experience, consisting of well over 30 years and counting, gave us the insight into what is and what isn’t possible in such delicate situations, and, perhaps more importantly, displayed the legitimacy and seriousness of our business. It showed that Incorp China is helping both Western companies as much as the Chinese economy by bringing them here. We have been here for a long time and are intending to stay. This feeling of stability combined with our China knowledge has helped us more than once in negotiating a great deal for our clients.
Therefore, it is truly important and money well invested to have somebody on the ground in China who can provide this support to your business.
If you are currently looking into expanding or moving your business to China, let us do your paperwork for you so you can fully concentrate on your business. Call us for a free consultation today at +1 (561) 729 6508, or write us an email at [email protected]. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Last week, three Incorp China team members and the CEO, Robert Fisch, headed to the Shenzhen tax bureau to help one of our US clients on shuting down their entity in China. When shutting down a foreign company in China, the tax bureau has to issue a “notice of cancellation of tax registration”’ for the Foreign Trade & Economic Cooperation Bureau. This is a rather difficult and time intensive procedure: The company owner, or a representative thereof, has to physically visit the local tax bureau in order to fill out and hand in the requires paperwork. While some documents are in English, the majority of the procedure will necessarily be dealt with in Mandarin. This highly bureaucratic task involves dozens of different forms that are each tailored to the nature of your business as well as the reason for its closure.
Our team had spent the days prior to our visit of the tax bureau preparing the individual documents. Good preparation, however, never actually guarantees that your paperwork will be dealt with quickly. Often, you will be asked to return with special, additional documents. The Incorp China team knows from experience that establishing a good relationship with employees of the bureau will make this procedure as effective and stress free as possible for both ourselves and our clients.
As we arrived at the bureau we headed to one of the front counters in order to find out who in the building would handle a case like ours. We were directed to an office on the 6th floor. After some chatting and having explained the purpose of our visit, it was obvious we had been directed to the wrong office. A few doors down the hall, the government official was willing to process our case. Our CEO, Robert Fisch, didn’t leave it at that.
He found out who the immediate superior of the tax officer was. This allowed us to talk to him personally and show our respect for his work and his country. Due to Robert Fisch’s fluency in not only Mandarin and Cantonese, but his added knowledge about numerous Chinese dialects, allowed him to prove that he was not just any “laowai” – a foreigner. Showing genuine interest and knowledge about China, builds trust, shows respect, and often gets a chuckle or two out of your conversation partner if you happen to be able to introduce yourself in the respective home dialect. Knowing how to sing a couple traditional, Communist songs has never failed to lighten the mood. After all, people are more likely to help if they know you are a friendly, trustworthy and interesting soul.
The team returned to the office of the official who would be processing our paperwork. After some more chatting and giving face to a couple of his colleagues, we finally returned to the head of the department once again. This last visit was just to ensure that everybody was on the same page. Especially knocking on the head tax officer’s door, a second time proved beneficial. Even though we only came to thank him again for his help, saying our goodbyes and paying respect to how well he is running his department, he immediately grabbed the phone to call his co-workers, who we had just seen a minute ago, to ensure them to process his friends’ request as soon as possible.
Our work was done, hands were shaken and we headed back down to the crowded ground floor. It took us the entire morning but was well worth it. Our clients are getting their paperwork in a timely manner and our office has formed a good relationship with a new department within the tax office for future collaboration.
Incorp China offers special attention to its clients: we are not just sending your documents off to be processed by government departments which we have never seen from the inside. We try our best to constantly create and enforce our relationship with different bureaus in order to provide the best service possible for our clients.
While every business needs to keep a tight grip on their expenses, some investments do truly pay off. One of such investments is hiring a local company in China to represent your business here. Why? Because Chinese bureaucracy and law is of complicated and ever-changing nature. Even more importantly, here, nobody stands a chance doing paperwork over the phone. Doing business face-to-face remains the most effective and respectful after all.
Incorp China was just retained by a Human Resource company based in the US to register their consulting WOFE (Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise) in China. As part of establishing a WOFE, the company is required to own a bank account at a Chinese bank. Until the recent crack down on money laundering by the central government, representatives were able to open up bank accounts on behalf of their clients as long as an attorney was present.
Now, however, the client himself has to make the request personally, which is not only a time intensive procedure but often impossible, as our clients tend to be based overseas. This issue doesn’t just affect businesses on Chinese main land but equally in Hong Kong. Since Incorp China is a small boutique consultancy our management is able to personally oversee every project we take on.
In this case Incorp China’s CEO, Robert Fisch, went directly to the bank manager’s office to first establish guanxi over tea, talking about their families and personal life, before addressing the issue of the bank account. Having initiated a personal connection, the bank manager instructed his employees to open the account for Incorp China’s client that same day even though the customer could not be present.
While this case reflects the benefits of hiring a local consultancy very well, there is a deeper reason why a company might employ an advisory team for business in China. Rules and regulations are constantly changing in every country around the world. Other than in the Western hemisphere, however, laws made in Beijing when funnelled down to the provincial level, are being translated and reinterpreted differently in every part of the country. Fully understanding the impact of such non-transparent law on individual companies, and arguably even more importantly, knowing what legal changes to expect in advance, is crucial to every successful enterprise. Incorp China’s task is to stay informed and ahead of the game so we can give your business the best advice for its growth and success.