We provide here an outline of the steps required to open a representative office in China. This is not a challenging process, but it does involve liaison with several different Chinese authorities. The procedure here is based on our extensive experience working with many different clients.
Obtain approval for company name
The first step in opening an office in China is to choose a name. Company names are strictly regulated for all types of company. A proposed name should be checked for availability, and that it does not contradict any rules regarding special characters or words. This is then submitted to the local AIC (Administration of Industry and Commerce) for verification and approval.
Sign rental lease for office space
It is a requirement for representative office application that an appropriate rental agreement is provided. This must be in the city of registration, of at least 12 months duration, and be in an approved commercial (non-residential) property. The responsibility is on the applicant to verify property status properly through the landlord’s documentation.
Make application to AIC for registration
The application form and all required documentation are submitted to the local AIC. Provided everything is in order, a business registration certificate usually takes around 2 weeks to be issued. At this point, the representative office is fully licensed and established.
Carve company chops
Chops, or seals, are used for a representative office just as they are for any Chinese company. These represent the highest level of company authorization. Separate chops are needed in different areas and are obtained through the Public Security Bureau (PSB).
Register for tax payment with the local tax bureau
Tax will need to be paid from the date of registration, usually calculated as a percentage of total expenses.
Obtain visas for foreign employees
Application is made via the PSB, and visas will be needed for the rep office chief representative and any other foreign employee (up to 4 in total).
Open Chinese bank account
A basic Chinese RMB account is needed for company day to day spend. If foreign exchange is required, we can also apply for a foreign exchange registration certificate.