Setting up a representative office (RO) in China seems to have a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy involved. Therefore, it is of most importance that foreign enterprises have an overview of the various approval and registration steps in order to facilitate a timely market entry into China. The entire process may take 3-5 months time to complete.
A. Main application procedure for setting up a RO
The 2 main agencies involved with the setting up a RO will be the local Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the local State Administration of Industry & Commerce (SAIC).
1. Local State Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)
Approach the MOFCOM or relevant agencies depending on your industry, to obtain the approval certificate that is necessary to set up your RO. Also, obtain the business license registration form for submission in the later stage with SAIC. Approval should take about 5 working days.
2. Local State Administration of Industry & Commerce (SAIC)
Once approval certificate is obtained from the MOFCOM, the appointed Chief Representative has 30 days to apply for the business license with the SAIC. Business license approval may take up till 1 or 2 months time. In total, processing fee should be about RMB 600. With the business license, the representative can go about applying for other procedures mentioned in the below section.
B. Further requirements
1. Registration with the Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration
a. For the company seal registration and the carving of company seal.
b. Within 2 working days. Carve seal fee is at RMB 500.
2. Registration with the local police (Public Security Bureau)
a. For representative and family隆炉s permanent residence.
b. Within 1 working day. No processing fee is required.
3. Opening of company bank account
a. Preferably with established banks like Bank of China.
b. Within 1 working day and processing fee of RMB 300 篓C RMB 600 depending on the bank.
4. Register with State Taxation Bureau for the tax registration Certificate and subsequent tax payment.
a. Within 1 working day. Processing fee is RMB 10.
5. Recruitment of local staffs through Foreign Enterprise Service Company (FESCO).
6. Register with Regional Bureau of Statistics of China Representative office for annual audits.
a. Within 2 working days. No processing fee is required
7. Register with Customs Bureau for importation of foreign goods.
a. Within 5 working days. Processing fee is RMB 50.
8. Register with State Administration of Foreign Exchange
a. Register only if required to have a foreign exchange account.
b. Within 7 working days. No processing fee is required.
C. Overview of the documents required for the establishment of RO in China
1. Copies of lease agreement and title deed sealed by the housing authorities. (Done in China before approaching MOFCOM).
2. RO隆炉s Business License & Certificates of Incorporation (Done in China local SAIC).
3. Bank reference letter for foreign investors (issued within 6 months and in both English and Chinese languages, certified by the Chinese embassy or Consulate in your country).
4. Minutes of Board Meeting to setup RO.
5. Minutes of Board Meeting to authorize Chief Representative.
6. Certified true copied of incorporation of applicant隆炉s company certified by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate or relevant agency in your country.
7. Copies of passport and China entry permit of all the legal representatives, appointment letters, resume and 4 photos of the Chief Representative.
8. Documents evidencing the details of shareholders and directors.
9. Last annual return to Company Registry and to Tax Department in your home country.
With that, your representative office is set to establish its presence in China. However before getting to this stage that requires a lot of time and resources, a good market research study will be helpful to ensure that your products or services are viable in the Chinese market before you embarked on this registration process.