Thanks to the digital revolution, the business world has shrunk and what would have seemed impossible a decade ago, is now a reality. Even far-away markets such as China and Southeast Asia are now penetrable for western businesses and if you have your eyes on mainland China, here is some important information to guide you through the process of setting up a branch in this huge country.
If you implement trademark registration in China, your brand is protected and there are local law firms that specialise in assisting foreign businesses to expand their operation into China. Cultures differ widely and in some Asian cultures, copying a business name or logo is the kind of thing that happens, so you do need to take steps to protect your brand.
Forge an alliance with a local international law firm
This is an absolute must for any foreign business owner that wishes to trade in China; there are obvious language issues and any communication with the Chinese government would need to be managed by the local law firm, who are experienced at helping western business owners to register their company.
Registering a foreign business in China
This might seem a little daunting at first glance but with the help of a leading law firm, you will gain a deeper understanding of the various business registration options and can therefore make an informed decision.
These are the options:
- Joint venture company – If you join forces with a local company, you can enter the domestic Chinese market and what’s more, you can own up to 99% of the business. You are able to hire local staff and the law firm can facilitate sourcing a reliable Chinese partner, which means you can start trading within a few weeks of the application being filed.
- 100% Foreign owned business – It is possible to register a foreign business that is owned entirely by a foreigner(s). You can directly hire local employees and this type of business is perfect for a company that wishes to carry out some market research. This entity can also import and export and with the help of a local law firm, your registration would be complete within 2-3 weeks.
- Representative office – If you would like to set up a business to service your Chinese customers or simply wish to conduct market research. This entity must use an employment agency when sourcing local staff and can have up to 4 foreign employees and a registered office in China.
The law firm that is handling your business registration will inform you about the documents to prepare and will assist you with opening bank accounts and various other aspects of the project.
Accessing local services
As a foreign business in China, you will need to access a wide range of business services, including HVAC climate control, essential office and secretarial services, which is where your legal partner comes into play. They can facilitate processes on your behalf; something you need in a non-English speaking country such as China.