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
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.
Nationalities are a way of creating a sense of belonging. As soon as you are born, you are gifted one, sometimes two, nationalities. They play an important part in how you identify yourself throughout your life and they can come with – or prevent – great liberties. The problem with belonging to one nationality is that, as soon as you take a step beyond your mother land’s borders, you are a stranger. It is human nature to protect what we know and recognize and seek distance from what we see as foreign and unknown. Whether executed consciously or subconsciously, this behaviors is deeply engraved in our DNA.
It comes at no surprise, therefore, that institutions within one country make it their duty to protect their own citizens as best as possible from everything and everyone outside national territory. Foreigners are therefore naturally subjects to greater controls, restrictions and more tightly supervised legislations.
Coming to China will illustrate this point precisely. Being treated like this by banks and bureaus is neither meant intrinsically bad nor malicious, but can be very frustrating and drag out simple tasks seemingly forever.
One of our US clients, providing HR services for companies worldwide, was experiencing grave trouble with banks in Shanghai. While we cannot name the exact cause for this problem, it essentially prevented our client to pay their staff in multiple countries as a large part of their profit was stored in the Shanghai bank accounts. Incorp China had the entire team on their phones talking to banks in all time zones – Shanghai, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom – day and night. It was our goal not only to find a short term solution and get the client’s staff payed with whatever bank accounts were accessible, but even more importantly, smooth things over with the Shanghai branch and regain access to the client’s account. The issue was resolved, salaries were payed on time and the Shanghai account was reopened for transfers in and out of the country. Incorp China is continuing to look after this client’s staff all over China and helps the individual branches manage their HR payroll processes.
Contact us to find out how we can help you. With over 30 years experience in China, we have the knowledge and passion for the field to support you and your business.