Preface of This Post:


More and more foreign brands, technologies, business ideas are jumping into the Chinese market through forming local companies and obtaining the certificates of business registration.

The whole procedure of companies formation just need 3 weeks (around 20 days), and to get a business license as the first step of companies registration, just needs 1 week (around 5 workdays). With the reforms of foreign investment enterprises market access and further promotion of business registration system, China is attracting more investors and entrepreneurs participating in this huge market through optimizing business environment, related measures, and policies.

Look forward to register a business license in mainland China, now, the processing is simpler and quicker than before since the implementation of new business registration system. In the future, we believe that everything will be more comfortable.


Why need a 5-in-1 business license

If you plan doing business in the mainland China, you have to set up a private business as the business entity to operate daily market and transactions first, also you have to apply for the business permission and taxpayer registration approved by the local supervision authorities.

5-in-1 Certificate of Registration

sample and screenshot of a 5-in-1 business license, edited by SMEsChina registry office

Our chief registrar of companies, Mr Mark posted a guidance on our platform, the title is <new version 5-in-1 incorporation certificate and business registration certificate>, you can link to the page to learn the changes, and information for registering a business licenses in China. Another earlier page <how to obtain business incorporation certificate> also is a professional reference for limited company, WFOE, joint venture, branch and other company types for your studies.

As an entry license, set up a business and obtain the business license is the most important thing at the beginning, after getting approval from the local supervision authorities, you may use the business license to open a corporate account easily, and hire employees to pay social insurance and housing fund, also you can use the licensed company to develop local market and customer base, even you can use the company to apply for the work visa and resident permit (known as: z visa).

Requirements and documents of obtaining a business licence

As a foreign owned enterprise, you have to prepare required documents for the company’s shareholder(s), executive director as well as legal representative, and supervisor as following table list. If you need to know more details, you may contact SMEsChina lawyer teams to get a free proposal and timeline table for your further studies.

What requirements and qualifications to set up a company

Here is a required list for company registration for your reference. All required documents depending on your corporate structure and key people.

Key Structure of the Company:Required Documents you have to prepare in your home country:Remarks:
Corporate ShareholderNotarization and authentication documents for the certificate of registration of foreign parent company issued by the Chinese embassy. Learn more: Embassy Notarization Authentication Documents2 sets, bilingual
Individual ShareholderDigital photo, notarization and authentication documents for the passport issued by the Chinese embassy. 16 years old at least. Learn more: Embassy Notarization Authentication Documents2 sets, bilingual
Legal Representative – Chinese PeopleOriginal ID card, 16 years old at least. Digital photo.none
Legal Representative – NonresidentDigital photo. Notarization and authentication documents for the passport issued by the Chinese embassy. 16 years old at least. Learn more: Embassy Notarization Authentication Documents2 sets, bilingual
Supervisor – Chinese PeopleOriginal ID card, photo, 16 years old at least. Digital photo.none
Supervisor – NonresidentPassport copy, photo, 16 years old at least. Digital photo.none
Financial ManagerLocal ID copy, photo, 16 years old at least. Digital photo.none

What documents and forms have to been submitted

The following list includes required forms and legal files of incorporation and after you placing an order to SMEsChina platform, our lawyers will assist you filling in the information and completing the preparation of documents.

Documentation Download List (PDF):Signatory:Remarks:
Letter of Commitment of Establishment of Foreign Investment EnterpriseShareholder(s)Bilingual, print double, black pen
The Letter of Attorney for Appointed or Authorized AgentShareholder(s)Bilingual, print 4 copies, black pen
Foreign Company Registration (Record) ApplicationLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen
Information of Legal RepresentativeLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen
Information of Executive DirectorDirectorBilingual, print double, black pen
Information of SupervisorSupervisorBilingual, print double, black pen
Situations of Investors ( Shareholder Roster )Needn’tBilingual, print double
The Letter of Attorney of Services of Legal Documents of Foreign Investment EnterpriseLegal Representative and Shareholder(s)Bilingual, print double, black pen
Commitment of the Registry AuthorityLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen
Commitment of New EstablishmentShareholder(s)Bilingual, print double, black pen
Virtual Registered Address AgreementLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen
Letter of Attorney of Application of Company SealsLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen
Letter of Attorney of Corporate Digital CertificateLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen
Appointment DocumentShareholder(s)Bilingual, print double, black pen
Sample of the Articles of AssociationShareholder(s)Bilingual, print double, black pen
Application of Foreign Trade Operator CertificatesLegal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen, import and export businesses need it
General Taxpayer Application (VAT Qualification)Legal RepresentativeBilingual, print double, black pen

Brief timetable of registering a Chinese corporate license

Just need 5 working days to complete the process of license registration, also you need to submit other register documents to keep the company at a legal status, these is no any restrictions on nonresidents to launch a business in China. Joy, the customer manager of SMEsChina platform has shared another guidance <20 days setting up a business> to say, the whole process of business registration is the same as local citizens.

Description of Each Step:Time Required:
Chinese company name submit, search and obtain approval3 working days
Download and signature of the required documents of company formation (see below) and courier to SMEsChina5 working days
Obtain the certificate of foreign owned (investment) enterprise and the certificate of business registration (known as: business license)5 working days
Apply for the company stamps (known as corporate seals) and obtain approval2 working days
Open a local corporation bank account and internet banking5 working days

10 tips to speed up the process of getting a business license

Tip 1: Entrust a local company formation agent

A company registration service provider can offer a service package for your company incorporation if you have everything to set up a business in China through registering a 5-in-1 business license. After your decision, you can entrust the agent as the submitter of legal files of company incorporation, this step you have to know the pricing packages with no hidden costs, and to sign an appoint letter to entrust the company registration agent for your application, submitting, and license receiving. A good company service firm can help you speed up the application and registration for your 5-in-1 business license.

Tip 2: Choose a registered address

As the mandatory requirement, a company has to decide a office address as the registered address before applying for the corporate business license. However, this is a complicated problem, where? How much office rent? Is the transportation convenient? Who’s going to run this office? According to the Chinese, you can only rent this office in the year of monkey and the month of horse.

With the exception of certain regulated industries, most industries and companies can use virtual addresses to apply for the business registration. Most of company formation service providers can offer the virtual addresses to help their customers obtaining the 5-in-1 business license. There is no denying that using a virtual registered address is a faster and more convenient way to get a business license, even if you stay in home country without coming to China personally.

Tip 3: Consider a lucky company name

From SMEsChina’s experience, apply for a company name is the most troublesome thing due to the differences in language and culture. An available corporate name for a foreign owned enterprise has to include bilingual (Chinese and English), English name is simple for nonresidents, but Chinese name is a complicated issue, Chinese company name search and register needs 3 working days normally, but most of foreigners provide many times application, still can not get approvals. This step is a huge time waster, therefore, SMEsChina suggests our customers to get a support from local friends to consider more lucky Chinese names.

Tip 4: Select a list for your business scope

According to the company registration regulations, you may select the business activities from cross-industry selections, for example, you can choose business services and information consulting as your business scope, also you can select garment sales as another business activity. Because the difference of language, SMEsChina has posted another guidance <how selecting company business scope> for your studies, you can select your interested business activities from our top 10 industrial options.

Tip 5: Come to China personally can speed up the process

How to get a business license quickly? Do not doubt that visit China in personal is the quickest choice, you can issue notarized documents from Chinese embassy in your home country without coming here personally, however, if you take the documents and personally enter China can speed up the process of license registration, even if you have to get a business or travel visa from China embassy. In the process of 3 steps, such as: passport verification when submit the documents to the local market and supervision department, and documents and register forms signature, and the bank account opening, all of these 3 steps can speed up the procedure of company registration if you plan visiting China.

Tip 6: How to accelerate the documents preparation for key people

For getting a business license easily and quickly, you have to set up key positions as the following table, about financial manager, you can entrust your company registration service provider as the local third party accounting and bookkeeping service provider, but another 3 core structure of company incorporation have to been decided by yourself. Before you preparing the required documents for the 3 core people, you can learn their detail requirements from our previous 3 guidance for your studies, <requirements of company shareholder>, <requirements and qualifications of legal representative>, and <legal requirements of supervisor>, after you learn the detail requirements and qualifications, you can prepare their documents of verification easily and quickly.

Tip 7: Decide taxpayer type in advance

In China, you have to decide your taxpayer type in the process of tax registration after you getting the business license, most nonresidents need to spend a long time to confirm the taxpayer type, normally, a Chinese company can apply for small scale taxpayer or general taxpayer (VAT qualification) from tax office, and below table is a tax basic rate for 2 taxpayer types, before the tax registration, SMEsChina suggests our customers to confirm with their local clients in advance, what kind of tax rate and invoice type their local clients need, if you have confirmed a taxpayer type in advance, you can speed up the tax registration process.

Basic Taxes of Small Scale Taxpayer:Service Activities:Trade Activities:Engineering and Installation:
VAT – Value Added Tax3%

Tax-free application with a monthly turnover of less than 100,000 RMB

3%

Tax-free application with a monthly turnover of less than 100,000 RMB

3%

Tax-free application with a monthly turnover of less than 100,000 RMB

Corporate Income Tax – Profit Tax

( less than 1 million RMB each year )

5% ( preferential tax rate )5% ( preferential tax rate )5% ( preferential tax rate )
Corporate Income Tax – Profit Tax

( 1 – 3 million RMB each year )

10% ( preferential tax rate )10% ( preferential tax rate )10% ( preferential tax rate )
Corporate Income Tax – Profit Tax

( more than 3 million RMB each year )

25%25%25%
Basic Taxes of General Taxpayer:Service Activities:Trade Activities:Engineering and Installation:
VAT – Value Added Tax6%13%9%
Corporate Income Tax – Profit Tax

( less than 1 million RMB each year )

5% ( preferential tax rate )5% ( preferential tax rate )5% ( preferential tax rate )
Corporate Income Tax – Profit Tax

( 1 – 3 million RMB each year )

10% ( preferential tax rate )10% ( preferential tax rate )10% ( preferential tax rate )
Corporate Income Tax – Profit Tax

( more than 3 million RMB each year )

25%25%25%

Tip 8: Confirm that if your company needs import and export permits

After obtaining the business license, the company can simultaneously apply for the bank account opening and the registration of import and export license and permits, so you have to decide and confirm if your Chinese company needs to apply for the import and export permits, this decision can speed up the whole process of business registration.

Tip 9: Speed up the process of bank account opening

This step, if you come to China personally, of course, this bank account can be approved very simple and quick, if you do not want to come here, you can entrust your local accountant to submit the forms and application to bank through making a video, however, if you do not visit China, by a video also can be approved for corporate bank opening with another 1 week. Here, if your Chinese business need a quicker completing process, you may come here in personal.

Tip 10: How long does it take to get a business license in China

From SMEsChina’s experience, the whole process of company formation just need 20 working days, also our lawyers believe that will be quicker in the future, above insights have introduced that the 5-in-1 business licence will be approved within 5 workdays if you have prepared all required documents and information for your Chinese company formation. If you want to get a business license quicker, do not worry please, SMEsChina also provides urgent certificate and license service, if you need it, you can contact our lawyers anytime, any places.

What business license agent services SMEsChina offer

If you want to get a business license in the mainland China, the following service items offered by SMEsChina lawyer team. For speed up the process of obtaining a business license in the mainland China, suggest you consulting our online lawyers to prepare and collect the related information and documents in advance before you starting the procedure of company incorporation.

Our license registration service packages include the following items:

  • Assist global customers to jump into China market.

  • Collection, approval, and verify the documentation prepared by customers and our teams.

  • Offer a legal virtual office address to obtain the approval of registration.

  • Name search and submit application, get the approval of the corporate name.

  • Documents and forms preparation, and signature of the corporate shareholder(s).

  • Apply for the certificate of registration of foreign owned enterprise approved by the local Municipal Commission of Commerce.

  • Obtainment of the business registration license from the local licensing authority, know as: 5-in-1 business license.

  • Issuing of the corporate stamps, known as corporate seals.

  • Documents collection and submitting for tax registration, and VAT taxpayer application.

  • Basic and capital accounts opening and capital account declaration.

  • Government cost, translate fee, and drafting of the legal files and forms.

  • Import and export license registration and permits application.

  • Yearly administrative and maintaining services, such as license renew.

  • Annual bookkeeping and tax declaration services for income tax report, annual audit, government inspection, tax final settlement.

  • Other optional service selections, such as: HR, social insurance, housing fund, VISA and resident permit, trademark, etc.

What information have to decide before setting up a business

According to Chinese company registration regulations, you have to decide the core information for your company formation, here, SMEsChina has listed a brief list for setting up the company registration information as following, after you deciding the related information, you can start the process any time, any places.

Steps:Topics of Study:Links of Reference:
Step 1Decide what types of software company, depends on your key structure of corporation (shareholder’s structure).Selecting a company type
Step 2How to choose an available company name with bilingual for your private limited company.Naming rules and requirements
Step 3List detail business activities from 10 industrial categories.Selecting business scope
Step 4Set up the registered capital for your limited company.Company registered capital
Step 5Set up core people of your local corporation, and key positions.Decide corporate structure
Step 6Required documents you have to prepare in your country.Documents required to register a company
Step 7Prepare notarization and authentication documents issued by China embassy.Notarization and authentication documents
Step 8Download application forms and legal files and after filling and signing, courier to SMEsChina offices.Company formation documents download

Our license registration prices

SMEsChina helps you getting the 5-in-1 business license easily and quickly through our online lawyers and offers different solutions and service packages for different industries and customer needs.

Service License

$4,950first year
  • Government Costs
  • Certificate of Registration
  • Business License
  • Seals/Stamps
  • Virtual Business Registration Address ( 12 months )
  • Annual Tax Compliance ( 12 months )

Trade Licence

$6,450first year
  • Government Costs
  • Certificate of Registration
  • Business License
  • Seals/Stamps
  • Virtual Business Registration Address ( 12 months )
  • Annual Tax Compliance ( 12 months )