To begin with, you must check if the company is legally registered with the AIC (Chinese Administration for Industry and Commerce): we detailed the Chinese business registry and the information it gathers in this article.
TIN stand for Tax Identification Number. Generally, the TIN of an entity is the Uniform Social Credit Code, aka the registration number which can be found on the company’s business license. The TIN was useful before the Uniform Social Credit Code was implemented, so before 2015.
VAT stands for Value Added Tax. VAT is due on taxable supplies of goods and services which take place within China by a taxable person in the course of business. However, it is generally a requirement to have either a fixed or permanent establishment of some kind in order to trade in and register for VAT within China. Before the reform that gave birth to the Uniform Social Credit Code in 2015, the VAT number was one of the means to check the legal existence of a company.
In October 2015, the government issued a document in which it explained that the whole point of the newly born Uniform Social Credit Code was to simplify the registration and thus the identification of any company registered in mainland China. The reform was called “three certificate in one” (三证合一、一照一码), and aimed to merge the three certificates of industry and commerce registration number, organization code and taxpayer identification number (营业执照、组织机构代码证和税务登记证) into a unique number: the 18 digit Uniform Social Credit Code.
As quoted in the government’s communication, the reform was designed to “reduce the repeated submission of materials and data collection by the market subjects in various administrations, maximize information sharing, provide convenience and lighten the burden for the market subjects, and add new impetus for the mass entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Introduced in October 2015, the reform was fully implemented before the end of 2017. Today, the Uniform Social Credit Code, aka the registration number, can be used to check on the legal existence of a every Chinese company.
However, legal registration is not enough to assess if a company would be a trustworthy partner. After checking the basic information available on the registry website, if you want further information about a company, you will have to check to following elements:
Does the company has connections with mainland China or other countries and who is behind it?
Who are the key leaders of the company? Does their profile allow us to know more about the company, its activities, its ownership structure, its reputation?
This information will help you to know if the company was previously active in a different business or to check for bad news online.
Have the company been involved in litigation (IP infringement, Commercial dispute, administrative penalty…) ?
What is said on this company on Chinese social media and newspapers, is it related to any scandal?
Does the company have any subsidiary and related company (i.e. companies owned by the owners of this company)? This information is interesting to grasp the big picture on the company’s group.
Did the company make any the trademarks and patent application?
What kind of products, their characteristics and pricing that are sold by the company on the Chinese market?
Obviously, the major difficulty of the Chinese market is the language. The smaller the company you want to check on, the more difficult it will be to gather information in English. Let’s be honest, most of the time, it will be difficult to find the official English name of the company, as it probably doesn’t have one.
At Octobot, we developed a search engine called Octochek, which allows you to look for a Chinese company in English. Octocheck introduces you to a database that gathers for now more than 3 million Chinese companies, and is still growing to cover most part of the companies registered in China.
Once you’ve used Octocheck and found the company you were looking for, we provide you the basic information that are available for free on the Chinese business registry, translated into English.
And… that’s not the end! At Octobot, we developed a software that automatically gathers all the above-mentioned information and is able to deliver them in the form of a report fully in English. The software is using the AI to pick precise information and to translate them into valuable content.
Within a few working days, you can obtain a wide range of reliable information, allowing you to take any of your business decision with a clear mind and thus lesser the risk for your company or yourself.