How can foreigners register companies in Shanghai

Foreign individuals are: foreign nationals, compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, persons who have long-term residency ( green card ) abroad and no domestic accounts.

The nature of the company registered in China by foreigners is a foreign-invested enterprise ( foreign-owned company ), and of course, they can also jointly operate Chinese-foreign joint ventures and Chinese-foreign cooperative enterprises with Chinese nationals.


The establishment of a foreign-invested enterprise generally requires the following steps:

1. Approval by the Bureau of Commerce

  • It needs to be approved by the Bureau of Commerce.

2. Industrial and commercial registration

  • Step 1: After consultation, collect and fill in the “Name ( Change ) Pre-approval Application” and prepare related materials,
  • Step 2: Submit the “Name ( Change ) Pre-approval Application” and related materials, waiting for the results of the name approval,
  • Step 3: Obtain the ‘Pre-approval Notice of Enterprise Name’, and obtain relevant forms such as ‘Registration Form for the Establishment of Foreign-invested Enterprises’, go through the formalities for examination and approval of the commerce department, receive the reply and the ‘Approval Certificate for Foreign-invested Enterprises’, where the scope of business involves permits of laws, administrative regulations and the State Council’s decision ( see the Municipal Bureau of Industry and Commerce for pre-registered projects for pre-registration of enterprise registration ), it shall also go through relevant approval procedures, where the Chinese investment involves state-owned equity ( assets ), it shall comply with the relevant regulations on the management of state-owned assets.
  • Step 4: Submit the application materials. Where the materials are complete and meet the statutory requirements, waiting to receive the ‘Notification of Establishment Registration Approval’,
  • Step 5: Receive the ‘Notification of Establishment Registration Approval’, then, pay the fees to the industry and commerce authorities and obtain the business license on the date specified in the ‘Notification of Establishment Registration Approval’.

Processing foreign ( regional ) companies’ production and business in China generally requires the following steps:

  • Step 1: After consultation, obtain and complete the “Registration Application for Production and Business of Foreign ( Regional ) Enterprises in China” and ‘Designation ( Entrusting ) Letter’, go to the relevant examination and approval department to process the examination and approval procedures (contracted project is approved by local Construction Commission, contract management is approved by Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce, foreign ( regional ) financial companies are approved by the China Banking Regulatory Commission, foreign ( regional ) insurance companies are approved by China Insurance Regulatory Commission, foreign ( regional ) exploration and development of petroleum resources is approved by the Ministry of Commerce, and obtain approval documents.
  • Step 2: Submit the application materials. Where the materials are complete and meet the statutory requirements, wait to receive the ‘Notification of Establishment Registration Approval’,
  • Step 3: Receive the ‘Notification of Establishment Registration Approval’, then, pay the fees to the industry and commerce authorities and obtain the business license on the date specified in the ‘Notification of Establishment Registration Approval’.
    1 ). Tax registration certificate
    2 ). Bank account opening permit
    3 ). Other matters

Step-by-step to Learn

The purpose of this guidance is to help foreign business entities, brands, companies getting more useful information to start the procedure of forming a company smoothly and comfortably. Before your decision on launching a business in Chinese market, you have to understand the key requirements, such as: naming rules, business scope, registered capital, corporate structure, required documents. You can learn everything from below guidance.

Popular 9 Types of Companies and Organizational Forms

Ready to Start and Launch a Business in China? So Are We.

SMEsChina teams focus on the growth of enterprise and providing a variety of business solutions in the area of strategy consultancy, WFOE setting up services, business registration, company formation, incorporation of domestic invested enterprise, finance and audit services, HR and payroll, corporate bank account, resident permit, immigration and visa, trademarks and legal compliance.

China is attracting more and more foreign companies, SMEs,entrepreneurs, startups, brands to invest and establish their business entities through reforming various laws and regulations actively. More than 47 million companies and small medium enterprises have registered their business entities in mainland China and over 3.5 million new enterprises are incorporated during each financial year with comfortable process of registering companies. Here SMEsChina is sharing our knowledge and business insights to global enterprises and companies for better learning the regulations and rules of China corporations running and corporate maintaining. All reference and guidance collected by SMEsChina Teams in accordance with the latest implemented laws of the People’s Republic of China on Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises ( WFOE ), Joint Venture ( JV ) and Limited Liability Company ( LLC ), Limited Liability Partnership ( LLP ), and other relevant and officially promulgated regulations and rules on the corporation formation and registration of industrial and commercial enterprises and related IP laws, immigration and resident policies ( VISA ), tax laws.

SMEsChina teams happy to work around you and look after your daily China operations confidently and smoothly. Check if setting up a private company is right for you, if you have everything to set up a business in Mainland China, you can get in touch with our teams to get more useful information and online guidance.

Recent Insights and Publications

The Most Popular Tags of Corporate Type

Other Topics and Categories