Starting a business in China is a big feat in itself. There are a lot of considerations to factor in and a different set of laws that one must follow to be able to have smooth-sailing operations in one of the world’s leading business country. Aside from that, you would be required quite a financial and time investment. To be able to get to a level where your business can operate without being stressed with all the technical details, there are things that you need to know before you even go out and set up a business in China.
1. There are many ways your business can be present in China.
When opening a business in China, there are actually a couple of options to get your business running. Depending on the type of business you have or the need of your business, you can research and try one of these options:
- A Wholly-owned Foreign Enterprise (WFOE)
- A Contractual or Cooperative Joint Venture (CJV)
- An Equity Joint Venture (EJV)
- A Representative Office (RO)
- A Foreign Invested Partnership Enterprise (FIPE)
A few of these options are cost-effective and will give you more opportunities to maximize the run of your business in China. It’s about trying the best one for your business.
2. Be accurate with the scope and definition of your business.
The business laws in China are quite stricter when it comes to defining the scope of a business. The Chinese local authorities reserve the right to prohibit or restrict your business if the scope and definition of your business does not align with China’s rules and regulations. It is noteworthy that they can permit and even encourage you to set up your business in China if the scope and definition has been laid out carefully and accurately. To save time and to not let your efforts go to waste, make sure you set the scope of your business first, so you don’t run into complications with the laws of China when it comes to setting up a business.
3. Carefully put up your business at the right location in China.
Since 2008, China has abolished its preferential tax rates for foreign companies. However, you should know that there are still preferential taxes for foreign investors in terms of business nature and geographical location. It is important to know the right locations to put up your business to get away from added costs that would be unnecessary to you.
4. Be knowledgeable with the minimum registered capital for your business to operate in China.
Typically, the Chinese government has a definite minimum registered capital depending on the scope and nature of a business. To avoid any future hassle due to foreign currency control policy, you highly recommended to set a minimum registered capital based on your business scope and operation scale even though it is not required by law. Before you even start acting on the actual set-up of your business in China, it is important that you know about the minimum registered capital for the type of business you have to avoid financial loss.
5. Know your responsibilities as an employer in China.
Putting up a business in China would mean that you are a potential employer to a couple of employees. In 2007, China has revised its Labor Contract Law and included clauses that addressed issues on employment contract and redundancy. Being knowledgeable with the updated laws will help you save more money and be a better employer to your employees. Termination of contracts with under-performing employees especially when the mistake is at your end for drafting a wrong contract can result to a huge financial damage that must be taken care of as soon as possible. Also, you need to be aware of Chinese Labor Law so you have an idea of the mandatory benefits and employee welfare and include it when you are coming up with a budget for your company set-up in China.
Did you know that you can hire an employee in China even before your business is setup in China? An experienced and licensed employment service provider, like HROne, can help you to hire this employee through them. In this arrangement, the service provider acts as the legal employer for your employee in China while the employee works for and is managed by the foreign company. Many companies prefer this option as it allows the foreign company to test the waters before they establish their legal entity in China.
Setting up your business, handling the employees payroll and statutory benefits in China, especially for foreign companies, can be a very overwhelming, complicated task. Moreover, different cities in China have different policies and it is very important to adhere to them.To ease the stress and minimize confusion in this process, it is best to consult a experienced and a licensed service provider about the best way to manage this process. Thus, outsourcing the administrative tasks to a local service provider with strong local know-how is very common among foreign small and medium enterprises in China.
6. Be vigilant and do a thorough background check of your Chinese partners.
We cannot deny the fact that scammers exist anywhere in the world. China is not excused with this. It is very important that you check your joint venture partner’s credibility. Before you even think of signing a contract with them, you should exhaust all means of research to know the truth behind your business partner. China is a foreign land and doing business with an offshore partner carelessly is a hassle and it can bring about complicated repercussions to you and your business.
7. Create a simple and understandable employee management system in China.
Doing business in China is hard. Recruiting people to work for your business in China is harder. Maintaining and keeping these employees happy during the duration of their work in your company is the hardest part. If you develop a really good employee management system, it will motivate your employees to work harder while still maintaining a happy disposition while they are working in your company. A few things you can consider including in your system are:
- Staff training
- Performance assessment
- Career management
- Communications policies
8. Know the basic requirements of putting up a business in China.
This would essentially be helpful for those who are looking into having a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise in China. You will need to submit the following:
- Articles of Incorporation or Organization for the investor entity
- Copies of applicable business licenses
- A certificate of good standing
- A description of the investor entity’s business activities, along with supporting documents
- A bank approval letter
Note here that you will also need to provide the above mentioned requirements in Chinese. That means you will have to have them translated too.
9. Secure and protect your company’s intellectual property.
Since you’ve gone all the way to set up a business in China, you don’t want it to be a waste by losing the intellectual property to others. Be knowledgeable about the Chinese intellectual property (IP) rights. The IP protection rights will provide a business the protection and registration of trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Also, be aware that disclosure and other issues might affect and limit your application and will jeopardize your efforts of securing IP protection. If you are really serious about doing business in China, you should start processing the IP protection rights of your business as soon as possible so as to avoid any conflicts and disputes.
10. Know the culture in China.
By now, it should already sink in to you that you are actually doing a business in a foreign country and you are the one visiting in that country. Knowing this, you should make yourself familiar with a couple of cultural practices in China, so you don’t jeopardize your business. It is very helpful to learn about the traditions and culture of the country and their practices when it comes to everyday interactions and communication. Follow holidays, special occasions, and special cultural practices observed in China. When you know about these things, you will be able to draft a good benefits program that will address the needs of your local Chinese employees when it comes to their welfare. Also, in adapting to the culture of the country, you will be able to impress your Chinese business partners and it will show that you are very respectful of their culture; thus, gaining advantage for you and the growth of your business.
The list about the things that you need to know about China before starting a business there can go on and on. In fact, even if you’re already in the middle of operations in China, there will be new knowledge to gain and you will still need to study about future developments in Chinese business laws. The important thing here is to be prudent and to always be on the lookout for any development. You should always keep yourself updated with the latest laws and regulations, so you minimize the hassle and burden it can cause you when you unknowingly violate these simple business rules in China. Oftentimes, the best way to go is to have a trusted third-party company that will deal with all the technical details of a business set up in China, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of things. This way, you will be able to concentrate on a lot of more important things that you need to do when you are in the process of creating your presence in the business world of China.
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