Set Up a Company in China

If you want to set up a company in China, you are making the right choice. To begin with the company registration, you need to understand how to name a Chinese Company? What is the registration process for Foreign Invested Enterprises in China? How to apply for the License and Certificate in different activities? etc.

Generally, Foreign Invested Enterprise in China is referred to WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise), or JV (Joint Venture) company, or RO (Representative Office), including Consulting company, Trading company, Technology company, Food, and Beverage company, as well Manufactory or Factory company, etc.

GWBMA provides one-stop business service for Foreign Invested Enterprises (FIE), including the Company Registration Process, Bank Account, Accounting & Tax, HR outsourcing, VISA & working permit, and legal services. Moreover, with the help of technology and experts such as lawyers, Chartered accountants, the company secretary makes Company registration error-free and seamless. 

Choose GWBMA, choose its expertise with high efficiency, and start your business in China Today.

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First-rate and All-round Registration Service

  • 100% Online Company Registration process
    Just provide us the required documents and let us do the rest.
  • No registered Capital Required
    There is no paid-up capital required in China.
  • No requirement for a real office
    We can supply the cheapest price and Permanent legal registered address in the Development Zone in China. 
  • New Business License 3 in 1
    Combines the business license, the organization code certificate, and the tax  certificate into one Business License.
  • Set-up a WFOE in 30 Working Days
    The registration process takes only about 30 working days at the earliest.
  • Comprehensive Management Service
    A comprehensive range of additional business services including Acccounting & Tax, HR outsourcing, and legal services.

The procedure to set up a company

Set-up a Foreign Invested company in 30 Working Days

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China Corporate Structures

The advantage of 4 typical Foreign Invested Corporations

Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE)

Joint Venture Company (JV)

Representative Office (RO)

Foreign Limited Partnership (LP)

Basic Documents Required

Documents required to set up a company in China


If the Legal representative and Supervisor and shareholders are foreign citizens, you need to provide the Photocopy of the Passport or the Identification Certificates. Meanwhile, all the passports should be notarized by the local, state, or national registration office or authentication department and then be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy or consulate.

Registration Proof

If the shareholder is the legal entity, the Certificate of Registration/Business Certificates for the company investor should be notarized by local, state, national registration office or authentication department and then be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy or consulate. Similarly, HongKong, Macau and Taiwan companies should be notarized by the local registration office or authentication department only.

Office Address

According to Chinese Company law, to set up a company need to provide the office Address Lease Agreement at least one year to the Government. That means you need to provide the Office Lease Contract and the Property Certificate (Copy and stamped with the property owner's chop in China). Certainly, if you don't have the company office in China, we can help you to find the company registration address in the Development Zone.

What do you get

What do you get after Company Registration

Business License

Obtaining a Business License from Government

Business Scope

Provide the approved business activity in the Business License

Articles of association

Company's articles of association (Basic Version in Chinese)


Company stamp, Financial stamp, Invoice (Fapiao) seal and Legal Representative stamp

Extra service package after Company Registration

Bank Account

RMB Company Bank Account / Company Capital Account / Foreign Exchange Account

TAX Bureau Disk

Golden Tax Bureau Disk (OfficialTax USB disk to issue invoices and the tax)/ Fapiao printing machine / Blank fapiao notes

Visa & Work Permit

Work visa is required for entrepreneurs who set up a company in China. After applying for a work visa, you must obtain a work permit and residence permit.

Social security account

Pension, Medical Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Maternity Insurance, Work Injury Insurance and Housing Provident Fund for Chinese employees.

Applying for Licenses & Certificates

Assisting in applying for Special Licenses or Certificates

Import Export Certificate

Trading companies in China need the process below: 1. Put on record Foreign Trade unit 2. Registration Form for Inspection and Quarantine. 3. Certificate of customs declaration Unit. 4. Foreign Exchange Administration Unit. 5. Electronic port Card.

Food Circulation License

For the Food trading companies, outlets, supermarkets, or restaurants, and the enterprises engaged in the manufacture and packaging of food, the Food License is necessary. That means you need to provide a certificate to operate the food business.

ICP License

If the company has an official website or e-commerce platform in China, it needs to apply for the ICP license. Generally, non-profit websites need to apply for the standard ICP license, and e-commerce websites need to apply for the commercial ICP.

Medical device license

If the company business activities belong to the Mid-risk medical devices or High-risk medical devices). GWBMA can help you to apply for the Medical device License in National Medical Product Administration (NMPA ).

Alcohol Wholesale/Retail

For the Alcohol business in China, whatever wholesale or retail, the WFOE needs to apply for the Alcohol (Wholesale/Retail) License with the Food License. That means the company needs to provide a real office or shop agreement with a property certificate, etc.

Human Resource license

If the company business refers to the onboarding, payroll, and benefits to employees for the other corporations, it needs to apply for the HR license. Basically, it needs the bank deposit of RMB 1,000,000 of registered Capital, 5 employees with Talent certificates, etc.

Travel agency license

If the company activity belongs to the tourism business, it needs to apply for the Travel agency license. For international tourism, it needs a bank deposit of RMB 1,500,000 of registered Capital. And for domestic tourism, it needs bank deposit of RMB 300,000 of registered Capital.


NVOCOO means Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier. The NOVCC validity period is 5 years for the Company. In order for a foreign NVOCC to issue its own House Bill of Lading in Mainland China. GWBMA can help you to put a record in the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in China.


Protecting Your Business from Legal Risks

Establishment Report

A feasibility study is typically required by the business decision-makers in relation to enterprise establishment in China, GWBMA works closely with the client and acts as a sparring partner in defining the China business strategy. We offer to compile the feasibility Research report including Business Scope, Organizational structure, Location, Timeline process, Profit repatriation, Tax, H&R, etc.

Merger & Acquisition Report

GWBMA has qualified experts in the following areas: M&A Strategy, Acquisition Target, Buyer Search & Screening, Due Diligence, Acquisition Strategy, Business Valuation, Negotiation Support, Transaction Structure Designing. Based on our strong network of legal, audit, human resources, transaction services, real estate brokerage, we offer customized transnational M&A services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Company Registration in China

How much does it cost to set up a foreign-owned company in China?

The Company registration cost depends on the company type, the business scale, and the business industries. Therefore, if you want to set up a company in China, just contact us directly. We’ll analyze your company situation and then provide the most cost-saving proposal.

What is the share proportion for the Foreign-Invested Enterprise?

  • For the WFOE/WOEF, the foreign investor should have a 100% shareholder ratio to set up a wholly foreign owned company in China.
  • For Joint venture company, at least one of the shareholders should be a foreign investor that the proportion shall be no less than 25%.

I haven’t rented an office yet, can I set up a company first?

When setting up a company in China, it is important that you need to find an office and the lease contract with the landload who provide the copy of the real estate license, and other related materials. It is necessary for company registration. Certainly, if you need help, we can help you to find the best office or provide the registration address in the Development Zone.

How long to finish the WFOE registration and start a business?

Normally you need one and half months for the WFOE set up process :
Company pre-name check: must use the Chinese language for the names. (7 working days)
  • Waiting for the 3 in 1 business license and providing several documents. It depends, if you are not in China, you need a courier express to China. (15-20 working days)
  • Opening the bank account.  (7 working days)
  • Opening the Tax account in the Tax Bureau. (7 working days)

What is a Joint Venture company in China?

The Joint venture (JV) is a business entity set up by one or more citizens, corporations, or economic organizations cooperating with Chinese citizens, corporations, or economic organizations. That means the shareholders are from two or more nationalities. According to the Company Laws in China, the JV company is characterized by shared ownership, shared returns and risk, and shared governance. The point is, the contribution of capitals shall be converted to a certain proportion, and the proportion of the foreign investors shall be no less than 25%.

Will the company be able to start operations after obtaining a business license?

After obtaining a business license, you need to apply for public security records, official seals, corporate seals, and financial seals. Moreover, the corporation in China needs to apply for tax registration and social security account.

What processes do I need to deregistration a company?

The entire process of deregistration write-off the company is generally about 5 to 7 months.

What is the limit on the number of board members of a limited liability company?

If a limited liability company has a board of directors, its members are five to thirteen people. Besides, the limited liability company with a small number of shareholders or a relatively small company may have an executive director without a board of directors.

What is the Supervisor of the Foreign Invested Enterprise (WFOE/JV)?

According to the Company law, a WFOE or JV company in China is required to appoint at least one natural person as the supervisor, and this person can be of any nationality and reside in any place. The supervisor cannot be appointed as the legal representative, board members or other senior manager. However, any shareholder or employee can be nominated to serve as a supervisor. In fact, the Supervisor of a WFOE/JV has no direct authority or responsibility, and usually serves a “symbolic function” within the company.

Can a limited liability company not have a board of supervisors?

A limited liability company with a small number of shareholders or a small scale may have one to two supervisors and no supervisory board. However, the limited liability company with a relatively large scale of operations has a supervisory committee with not less than three members, and the proportion of staff representatives shall not be less than one third. Supervisors shouldn’t be the legal representative, board members or other senior manager.

Who can be the legal Representative of Foreign companies?

Setting up a company in China requires a legal representative. The legal representative can be one Chinese or a foreigner. Besides that, the legal representative may be one of the shareholders, or it may be one of the persons from the appointment system (the position is the chairman, executive director, or manager). But the legal representative should not be the supervisor.

Do I need to be physically present to register a company in China?

No, we can act as an authorized agent on your behalf to register your company and get the Business License even if you are not in China. However, the legal Representative need to be in China in order to open the company’s bank account.

How to name your company in China?

In China, the official name of a company consists of four parts: administrative region, designation name, industry characteristics, and organizational form. Firstly, the administrative region name includes different regions or cities where you register the company. Secondly, the designation name includes two or more Chinese characters. Thirdly, the industrial characteristic includes the name of the products, business, or industries such as trade, culture, technology, advertising, etc. Fourthly, the organizational form includes the limited company, liability limited company, RO, etc.

What does registered Capital Mean?

According to Company Law, registered capital is the fund all the shareholders contribute or promise to contribute to the company as they apply with local State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) for incorporation, and the amount of the registered capital will be listed in the company’s Business License. Generally, it is the Subscription Capital system, there is no time limit for fund injection now. It means that the shareholders can transfer the register Capital into Company’s Capital Account in 20-30 years.

How to fill in the company’s business scope?

The Chinese company law stipulates that an enterprise may not operate business beyond the business scope of the business license, otherwise it will face a fine. Therefore, you must first determine the main operations to ensure that the company can legally operate these industries. If you are unsure whether to do the added business scope, you can go to the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) to ask the questions. That’s why the Chinese business scope is very important for your company.

What is the WFOE/WOFE in China?

Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE or WOFE) refers to foreign enterprises, corporations, economic organizations, or individuals that are 100% owned and capitalized in China by foreign investors. Thus, the WFOE doesn’t include the Joint venture enterprises, Representative Offices, or the branches of foreign companies, etc. Most notably, unlike the other investment vehicles in China, the unique feature of a WFOE is that the involvement of a mainland Chinese investor is not required. That’s why the WFOE is the most popular corporation for the Foreign Invested Enterprises (FIE).

What is the Representative Office in China?

Representative Office (RO) allows a foreign company to hire staff in China through their own legal entity. That means the RO is for the sole purpose of company representation. Starting up a RO in China is the fastest way to get an income at a lesser cost. However, not only the RO cannot part-take in any activities that cause them to gain returns, but also it cannot sign up any legal documents or charge a sales service fee from any customers.

What is the difference between the branch company and the subsidiary company?

  • A branch company is a branch of the company. Although the Branch company has business qualifications, it does not have legal personality, and cannot independently assume civil liabilities. The civil liability is bared by the company that establishes the branch company. In addition, the name of the branch company has to set up a branch name in front, followed by the name of the company plus a branch location.
  • For the subsidiary company, a certain amount of shares of a subsidiary are held and controlled by the parent company, but they have independent legal personality. In another word, civil liability can be assumed independently and externally according to law, but the parent company is not liable for the debts of the subsidiary company. The point is that the Subsidiaries can name themselves without adding the parent company’s name.

What should I do if the Registrated Capital cannot be paid after the capital period expires?

  • If the company does not intend to continue to operate, it can directly deregistration or transfer.
  • It is possible to extend the capital contribution period by amending the statutes; this method should be the most cost-saving, but it must be approved by all shareholders.
  • Find someone to help advance the capital, and the registered capital will actually be paid.
  • Shareholders who fail to timely contribute capital can be paid by other shareholders or transfer shares.
  • Go to the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) pre-filing to handle the change of capital reduction.

What is a branch office? Is a branch company qualified as a corporate legal person?

A branch company refers to a company that set up a business entity in a different registered area. It should be noted that the branch company does not have a legal personality, and cannot independently assume civil liabilities. Therefore, the parent company is responsible for civil liabilities.

Why I should register a Representative Office (RO) in China?

In the process of applying for the establishment of the Representative Office, the examination and approval authority of the Chinese government is relatively strict. Mainly from the establishment of the subject qualifications, location, chief representative, or representative of the qualifications and credit status and other aspects of the review and restrictions.

Although Representative Office (RO) can not conduct any direct profit-making commercial activities, compared to companies with a certain scale, foreign companies have a lot of role in establishing offices. For example, firstly, foreign agents in China may cooperate with bonded warehouses or import-export companies for operations. Secondly, for precision equipment manufacturers in the mainland for after-sales service. Thirdly, the Foreign trade importers and exporters who intend to enter the Mainland  China market will cooperate with Mainland China’s foreign trade import and export companies to complete the import and export actions. Basically setting up an office will have the function of a similar trading company. Lastly, intellectual property enterprises may authorize the use of their property rights on behalf of their parent company in China and have the ability to supervise the infringement of pirated copyrights.