China Trading Company: Setting Up an Import & Export Enterprise


China Trading Company represents a highly favored structure among Foreign Invested Enterprises. Home to 1.4 billion people, China boasts a vast and unparalleled global market. In recent years, Shanghai Port has processed a staggering RMB 8.42679 trillion worth of imported and exported goods, maintaining its position as the top-ranking port worldwide. Furthermore, it has continued to be the world’s busiest container port with an annual throughput of about 43.30 million TEUs.

If you are considering tapping into the vibrant opportunities of the Chinese market, establishing a trading company in mainland China could be a strategic move. For foreign investors, however, the local market regulations and registration procedures might initially appear complex and daunting.” This version integrates the keyphrase “China Trading Company” at the beginning, enhancing relevance and coherence with the updated title, and maintaining a smooth flow of information that sets the stage for the detailed discussion to follow.

The Trading Company Registration process in China

Renting an office for the Company Registration

At present, when you decide to set up a company, you have to rent an office in the district in which the company locates. In addition, according to Company Law, different companies need different office requirements for company registration.

For example, if you want to set up a food & beverage Trading company, you need to rent an actual office address that is no less than 35 square meters for the Import & Export License. Moreover, this address should be the same address in the Business License.

The Chinese company’s Prename Approval

The normal Chinese Import & Export or Trading company’s name should be formatted as:

Chinese: 上海xxx进出口有限公司

English: Shanghai XXX Import & Export Co., Ltd.

Chinese: 上海xxx商贸有限公司

English: Shanghai XXX Trading Co., Ltd.

First structure: registered place (For instance: 上海 Shanghai);

Second structure: Chinese name (For instance: XXX);

Third structure: Key Industry (For instance: Import & Export / Trading 进出口 / 商贸 );

Fourth structure: Form of Incorporation (For instance: Co,.Ltd 有限责任公司 );

The English Name of the Trading company for the International payment

When companies in China are registered, they are done so entirely in the Chinese language including FIE (Foreign Investment Enterprise). Generally, Chinese companies don’t have official English names except when they need international transfer payment, especially Chinese trading companies that need English Names for banks. Meanwhile, choosing an English name becomes a necessary condition for overseas bank payments.

The registered capital of the Company

The Chinese company Law enforces the subscribed system after March 1, 2014, which requires no capital verification requirements to registered capital, Foreign-invested companies can confirm a certain amount of funds according to their own situation.

According to our experience, the minimum registered capital of the Trading company should be USD 100,000. That’s the only way to be the General taxpayer in the Tax bureau which is very important for the trading company.

The Shareholder Information

The shareholder is the natural person or company that holds the share of a limited company. When checking the Chinese names of the company, a natural person only needs to provide a copy of the ID card, the company shall provide a copy of the company license with an official seal.

Business Bank Account Opening

Above all, opening a business bank account in China is indispensable to ensure business in China. Generally speaking, as a trading company, you should open a Basic account, Capital account, or Foreign Exchange Account in the bank. Besides, you can also choose different banks to set up a bank account for the company. There are four famous company banks in China, that is China Bank, China Construction Bank, China Industrial, and Commercial Bank, China Agricultural Bank, etc. Of cause, you can also choose the Foreign Bank in China just as HSBC, SC, CitiBank, etc.

If the company has an international business, choosing an English name becomes a necessary condition for overseas payments.  Trading companies need to use the English name to get approval from the Chinese bank for the SWIFT and CNAPS codes.

Taxpayer Type for Trading Company

The Invoice (Fapiao) is required by China’s tax authorities in order to compel companies to pay tax in advance on their sales.

According to the China Accounting Standard (CAS), taxpayers are divided into two types. That is the small-scale VAT taxpayer and the general VAT taxpayer. China’s Fapiao invoice system is created to avoid tax evasion. Normally, the trading company should apply for General VAT Payer in the Tax Bureau.

Thus, China’s invoice is obliged to be purchased from the Tax Bureau and print with the specified invoice machine of the unique invoice code for the company. With expertise in accounting and tax, we are here to provide an effective and prompt response to all your questions, concerning China’s invoice system.

Company Business License of Trading Company

After the Prename approval, you can receive the Business license within 3 – 5 Working days. Sometimes, the legal representative or investors shall go to the State Administration for Market Regulation(SAMR) to sign the legal documents. After, the Business License and the copy of the license, Official Seals, Finance Stamper, and corporate seal will finish within 7 working days.

Generally, there are 5 types of Business Registration Companies in China, this is what the New Foreign Trade Business License looks like:

China New Business License of Trading company

China New Business License

Tips: You can use the China company Free Search Engine to verify the Chinese Trading Company.

China Trading Company’s Business Scope

According to the Foreign Trade Law of the People’s Republic of China, the business scope of a foreign-invested trading company may include: (1) to be a trade agent; (2) wholesale; (3) retail; (4) franchise; (5) export and import.

The categories of the goods to be traded shall be specified in the business scope, for example, wholesale and export of textile, electronic products, furniture, etc. It means that the Trading Company can not do business beyond its business scope, or it will be fined by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR).

A Trading company refers to a foreign-invested enterprise (FIE) that engages in the following activities:

  • Retailing: Selling Goods from fixed venues or via television, telephone, mail order, internet, vending machines, and related services.
  • Wholesaling: Selling Goods to retailers and industrial, commercial, or other customers and other wholesalers, and related services.
  • Franchising: Authorizing the use of trademarks, trade names, and operation models for remuneration or franchise fees through the conclusion of contracts.
  • Commission agency activities: Acting as a sales agent, broker, or auctioneer for goods, or as a wholesaler charging fees and conducting sales for others’ goods and related services on a contractual basis.

For example, the main scope of business of the Import & Export company is:

“To do the importation & Exportation business of goods and technology.”

This is an example of the business scope of the Trading company in China:

“The development and sale of computer software and hardware, sale of electronic products, handcraft gifts, office supplies, and other consultation services or trading business. Engaged in Import & Export business of goods and technology.”

If it is a Trading company, you must add the sentence ” Engaged in Import & Export business of goods and technology” in the Business scope of the Business License when you set up your company. Only in this way, you can apply for the Import & Export Licenses for Trading Company.

Please read this article to learn how to apply for Import & Export Licenses for a Trading Company.


Generally speaking, if the trading company doesn’t have these Certificates, the customs will not carry out the trading procedures. Therefore, if you set up a trading company in China, you must complete the steps above to operate the Import & Export business. Therefore, GWBMA is committed to assisting global entrepreneurs and investors from company registration, trademark, copyright, patent, to legal service. By focusing on detailed and comprehensive, secure, and rapid services, GWBMA ensures you experience our dedicated support, enabling you to efficiently start your business in China.

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