China Company Formation Guide

In this article, we provide insight idea about China company Formation guide:

  • Type of business presence in China
  • Business formation process 
  • The process of entity formation in China

Nowadays, China is becoming one of the largest economies around the world. More and more foreign investors are attracted by the China’s strong economic growth and are willing to expand their business to China. The land of the China is considered to be the land of rising opportunities. China’s government is being outward- looking and accepts more and more foreign investors since joining World Trade Organization in December 2004. Given the fact that China is a member of WTO, setting up an entity in China demands less hassle. If you have are already decided to establish a business in China, this article will be very helpful to you.


Want to Set-Up a Company in China


Types of business presence in China

Mentioned below are three of the most common types of company formation in China. Brief information about each is mentioned below:

1. Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE)

A Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) is an independent limited liability legal entity, wholly owned by one or more foreign investors, wholly foreign-funded. WFOEs may conduct business within their registered business scope. There are more and more companies tending to use service providers such as consulting and management services, etc.

The establishment of a WFOE does not require investment minimum registered capital. WFOE is an independent company which develops its own strategy and make profits in the Chinese market.

The consulting WFOE has less registration process than Manufacturing and trading WFOE which is about 2 to 4 months. And the consulting WFOE only allowed to provide services.

The trading WFOF refers to the transaction of products within the business scope of an enterprise.

There are several advantages of setting WFOE in Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Foreign investors can spend less time to set up WFOF in Shanghai Free Trade Zone. In the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, there has a prominent advantage that foreign investors can enjoy simplification of the procedure for applying for approval and registration within the Free Trade Zone. WFOE in the free zone will be treated as the same application procedure and requirements as inner investors.

2. Representative Office (RO)

Representative Office (RO) is formed by a foreign enterprise and it is not a legal entity in China. RO operates in China on behalf of the foreign parent company.

The establishment of an RO is a fairly simple way for a foreign company to exist in China, but there are limits to what they can do. For example, it cannot make any financial transactions directly and issue invoices.

As with joint ventures, ROs are becoming increasingly scarce as foreign investors choose to set up wholly foreign-owned enterprises in China.

RO mainly works on a technical exchange, product promotion, market research, and some other related allowed activities in China. Moreover, it is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to expand in China, starting with the formation of an RO.

 3. Joint Venture (JV)

JV is a special form of company registration in mainland China and foreign countries.

When China’ s government began to implement foreign investment policies in its territory, JV was the main type for foreign companies to enter the Chinese market, and they achieved this by working with local Chinese companies and form joint ventures.

The increasing number of applications’ rejection year by year, discourages the foreign applicants to set up a JV. However, in some restrictive industries, such as media, the operation of joint ventures is the only option for foreign companies to enter China.

There are 2 types of JV, which are EJV and CJV.

1. Equity Joint Ventures (EJV) 

The joint venture is in the form of a limited liability company. This is a company with a legal personality, so it has obvious separation from the investors. It can have assets, and the responsibility for the transactions it deals with is the company itself. Investors’ liability is limited to their total contribution. Every investor has the right to distribute profits according to their contribution.

2. Cooperative Joint Ventures (CJV or Sino-Foreign Contractual Joint Venture)

Sino-foreign cooperative enterprise (CJV) is a Sino-foreign joint venture in China. Chinese companies often provide labor, land use rights and factories. In the meantime, foreign companies bring in the necessary technology and key equipment and capital.  There is no minimum foreign investment required to initiate a CJV.

If you want to know how much investment you should have to form a company in China according to these types of business presence, you can Get Your Free Labor Cost Calculation Now!

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 Business formation process in China

Three types of entities are suitable for foreign investors who want to do business in China.

These are;

a) Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WOFE)

b) Joint Ventures (JV) and

c) Representative Office (RO).

If you have questions about the process of entity formation in China

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The process of entity formation in China

The following is the process of setting up the above entities in China.

1. Process of setting up WOFE and JV

Step 1: Name approval

Step 2: Office/facility space lease

Step 3: Environment impact assessment (for manufacturing WFOE)

Step 4: Record-filing receipt

Step 5: Business license registration

Step 6: Carving chops

Step 7: Open foreign exchange and RMB bank account

Step 8: Import and export registration procedures (only for trading WFOE)

2. Process of setting up RO

Step 1: Name Approval

Step 2: Apply for Registration Certificate

Step 2: Chops filing and carving

Step 3: Foreign Exchange Registration Certificate

Step 4: Open bank account

HROne can understand your business and your business objectives well and provide in-depth guidance about the business types which are most suitable for your market-entry into China. We can further guide you about how much investment you should have, to form a company in China and about the mandatory requirements for a business to succeed in China! 

Please contact us on and an HROne consultant would help you more on your business strategy in China.

The information contained in this article is valid on February 27th, 2018. For updated information, please contact us via email at