China Representative Office Registration

Plan you market entry in China by setting up a representative office with our expert guidance

Oppen a Representative Office (RO) in China

A representative office, often referred to as an RO, offers foreign companies a straightforward and rapid means of initiating operations in China. In its simplest form, it permits foreign entities to engage in market research or business activities within China, with the constraint that they cannot generate profits directly through the RO. Some businesses may find this arrangement suitable for their operations, particularly in the initial stages, and it has the potential to save them a substantial amount of time and money. However, others may quickly discern that a full-fledged Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) setup is necessary right from the beginning.

At Top FDI, we provide best service of setting up a representative office in China in many cities. With our local and extensive  knowledge about opening a rep office in China, we can guide you from the start and help you setup your business.

Representative Office Registration Procedure

Company Name & Address

We collect & prepare documents for online application via MOFCOM and register for company name and address.

Business License

We apply for a "5 in 1" Business License from China AIC and prepare new company chops for the company.

Bank Account

We help open your corporate bank account, social insurance account and housing fund account in leading national banks.

VAT Registration

We submit your business license & required documents for tax registration in the Chinese bureau.

Tax & Accounting Support

Preparing Monthly Reports and filing monthly & quarterly tax returns.

Employer of Record

An RO cannot hire employees directly, however an EOR provider can do it on the RO's behalf.

How RO Setup Process Looks Like ?

After confirmation of services, we start the process of registration  with the following steps:

  1. Chinese Name Recommendation
  2. Chinese Name Pre – Approval
  3. RO Registration Certificate :  It is a certificate provided by The  State Administration for Market Regulation ( SAMR )  which can be obtained in 2 weeks – 1 month once application is submitted along with documents.
  4. Legal Representative Certificate : A Legal Representative is a person appointed by the board of directors of parent company to be responsible for the RO operations.
  5. RO Official Seal
  6. Legal Representative Seal 
  7. Finanical Seal

It is mandatory to register a physical address for your representative office in China.

Top FDI helps you to coordinate for the physical address registration.

Opening  your corporate  bank account.

We provide a dedicated financial manager who can
prepare monthly reports (Trial Balance, Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet, and customized
client’s reports) and file monthly and quarterly tax returns.

Top FDI provides additional value added services to help you manage your business effectively.

  1. Domestic & International Payments : We process domestic & international payment online upon client instruction including preparation of documents required by bank, submission and follow up with the bank for the same.
  2. Bank Access : Download monthly bank statements and reconcile bank balance.
  3. Fapiao / VAT Receipt : Print, Issue, Mail Fapiao upon client’s instruction and submit fapiao  records to tax bureau.
  4. Store Keeping : Safekeeping of Company Seals, Business Licenses, UKey & accounting related documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

A representative office is taxed despite not generating profit. The tax is typically calculated based on the office’s expenses, and the rate has increased from approximately 10% to nearer 15% in recent years. Conversely, a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) is taxed based on its actual income or profit.

For registering a Representative Office in China, the required documentation is generally simpler compared to what is needed for a WFOE, though it still involves specific and stringent requirements. It’s advisable to begin preparing these documents well in advance. While the exact documents needed can vary by the type of company or location, the typical requirements include:

  1. Representative Office Application Form – This is the initial form that begins the registration process.
  2. Passport Copies, Photos, CV, and Appointment Letter – These are needed for the chief representative of the representative office.
  3. Office Rental Contract – The contract should be for a commercial building within the city of registration and must be valid for at least one year.
  4. Certification, Registration, and Articles of Association of the Parent Company – These documents establish the legitimacy and operational framework of the parent company.
  5. Bank Reference Letter for the Parent Company – This letter should attest to the parent company’s longstanding relationship with the bank and its good standing.

All documents pertaining to the parent company must be translated into Chinese and notarized by the Chinese embassy. This ensures that all submitted documentation is accurately understood and legally recognized within the Chinese jurisdiction.

A representative office in China has the ability to hire staff, but the process is less flexible compared to a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE). Staff must be hired and managed through an employment agency.

FDI China can provide assistance with this arrangement. Additionally, there is a restriction on the number of foreign employees; a representative office can have up to four foreign employees, including the chief representative. This limitation underscores the need for careful planning and resource allocation when establishing a representative office in China.

It’s important to note that, due to regulatory changes in 2010, the parent company of a representative office in China must have been in existence for at least two years. Additionally, the registration of the representative office remains valid only as long as the parent company continues to be registered.

This requirement restricts the use of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) or holding company structures that are commonly employed in the setup of Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises (WFOEs). These rules emphasize the need for a stable and ongoing business entity in the home country to maintain a representative office in China.

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