China Briefing Magazine Celebrates 150th Issue

Posted by Reading Time: 12 minutes

Glasses of champagne and fireworks,new year celebration.

China Briefing Magazine reaches a significant milestone tomorrow with the publication of our 150th issue over a period stretching back 15 years. The new issue, titled “Employing Foreign Nationals in China”, details all employer and employee-side responsibilities for expats working in China, including individual income tax liability, visa requirements and remitting RMB abroad, and will be available for download from the Asia Briefing bookstore tomorrow.  It is a complimentary download for subscribers. Subscription to China Briefing is also free and can be obtained here

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The 150th issue of China Briefing “Employing Foreign Nationals in China”. Subscribe now to get your free copy.

Created by Chris Devonshire-Ellis as a separate marketing and business intelligence platform to demonstrate the capabilities of the Dezan Shira & Associates practice, China Briefing has become essential reading for corporate executives around the world and has inspired thousands of executives to take up the China business challenge. “The first issue was produced on a photocopier back in 1999” says Chris. “I ran off 500 copies of an issue entitled “Establishing Representative Offices” and distributed them around five-star hotels in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. By the third issue, demand for the new China Briefing magazine was such that I had to print 10,000 copies and distribute them in Beijing and Shanghai as well. I got lucky and delivered the right product at the right time.”

“China Briefing has been mapping the way for foreign business for 150 issues. Congratulations on this milestone and I look forward to many useful issues ahead.”

– Paul Gillis, Professor, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing

China Briefing predates the internet and made a move online back in 2002 with the launch of what was originally called the China Briefing Blog. “We experimented with the ‘blog’ title but it didn’t really work for us,” says Chris. “We were producing monthly print magazines and a highly technical series of books – the blog tag was too low-end. However, readership was rapidly moving online, and today we are 90 percent digital for content distribution. We still produce print copies of our titles, although not in the same quantity as before. Readership has moved to online platforms and that of course has allowed us to reach a far greater worldwide audience that now reaches close to three million readers – quite a long way from the original 500 copies!”

China Briefing At a Glance

In 2010, the China Briefing set of titles was moved onto the Asia Briefing portal, as the demand for other Asian content began to grow. Chris again: “By this time, Dezan Shira & Associates had already branched out into India and Vietnam and we were producing their respective Briefing titles as well. It made sense to incorporate all of our brands, and future ones we were planning under a simple Asia Briefing umbrella brand. China Briefing is still our largest single title however, although growth in all titles has been dramatic. Our collective Asia titles now generate nearly three times more views than our China title, and the Asia Briefing portal has become a very powerful regional resource tool.” Asia Briefing Ltd. today is a fully fledged independent publishing company, with a full-time research and editorial staff of about 10.

“China Briefing is essential China law, tax and operational intelligence and stands head and shoulders above their competitors. Congratulations to them on reaching this impressive milestone. I remember reading my first one, I think in 1999, at the Sheraton Great Wall in Beijing. What a ride!”
– Shaun Rein, Founder of China Market Research Group and author of The End of Copycat China: the Rise of Creativity, Innovation and Individualism in Asia

Titles now include Asia Briefing itself, ASEAN Briefing, India Briefing, Vietnam Briefing and China Briefing, with occasional issue of Russia and Mongolia Briefing as well. “The content in our publications has always been driven by the legal, tax, and operational issues facing the foreign investor,” continues Chris. “Content is provided by Dezan Shira & Associates in-house lawyers and tax experts and augmented by Asia Briefing’s research staff. For example, a lot of Chinese law needs to be translated into English. We do that, and then add in the practical  aspect to what these laws mean. Articles are produced to both inform and educate foreign investors in each of these countries, and we try to keep content both simple and practical. We try not to be political, and have also moved well away from the individual blogger personality as an online model. We deliver very much a corporate, not an opinionated product, and have still been able to provide quality online content as a free yet valued service.”

Asked about challenges, Chris says the most difficult thing was getting an online banking platform in place. “We have free daily online content but our premium products – magazines and books – need to be purchased. Getting our own payment system in place so people can pay us directly to our own bank rather than have to go through Paypal was both expensive and time-consuming. But now we are in total control of our own bookstore and that gives us a lot of freedom to do what we want rather than have financial terms dictated to us. Producing good quality content is hard enough already without having to put up with the financial  imposition of the large online merchants.”

“Congratulations to China Briefing on their 150th issue and the many years of great practical content and reading”
– James Zimmerman, Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce in China

Moving forward, what’s next? “Dezan Shira & Associates is making big strides into Asia,” explains Chris. “And we are reaching way out into each of the ASEAN nations. We already deal with these through our ASEAN Briefing portal but to drill down further, we will be launching LinkedIn Groups for Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand Briefings. We tend not to be too active on LinkedIn Groups because of spam and other annoyances. We already possess our own subscriber base, and many of our readers prefer to be more discreet. Some of them are internationally very well known and prefer to interact with us directly rather than on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook, which can be abused.

But for these specific countries we will initially be providing these Groups on LinkedIn and maybe later will roll out as fully-fledged websites. We already own the trademarks. We are all about quality in terms of our own reader requirements, so we prefer to concentrate on building up our own subscriber base. In time we will also be adjusting to new online products as technology advances, but we are looking at the corporate market, not mass readership as blogs tend to do.

That way we can keep content quality up. This goes hand-in-hand with attracting a quality audience. We will continue to develop into Asia and generate locally sourced high-value business intelligence for the international investor throughout the region. Executives need to know about India and ASEAN in detail, and how they will interact with China, the United States and Europe, and we are placing additional research personnel into our offices throughout Asia in 2015 to allow us to do that.”

Top Five Most Popular China Briefing Articles 2014

China Briefing has also developed a fairly unique pricing policy. “Access to the daily news, which is mainly China regulatory updates mixed with larger strategic opinion pieces, is free,” continues Chris. “Plus all of our magazines are also free access during the first month after they are published. But when each new issue comes out, the previous issue is archived and then becomes a paid product. Books are usually paid products, although we do have a number of country guides that are also available on a complimentary basis. We try to maintain a good mix of free access material in all our products, although the higher value premium content has to be paid for. But even then buying our technical guides is less expensive than hiring counsel!”    

 “China Briefing has been an inspirational source of high quality China law and tax knowledge for American and European lawyers and tax experts for many years now. Congratulations to them on reaching their 150th issue.” 
– Karen Kehl-Rose, President, The Leading Edge Alliance

 In terms of advertising and media relations, Asia Briefing has built up partnerships with Bloomberg, Lexis Nexis, China Daily, the Times of India, the Wall Street Journal and many others. “We are not advertising heavy,” says Chris. “We don’t want to drown out our content, and we only partner with select premium advertisers. We have over 50,000 high net worth executives internationally as subscribers, and close to 3 million views per annum. Interested parties wanting to reach out can obtain a copy of our media pack and the advertising options available by contacting”      

The Most Popular China Briefing Article – Ever! 

Import-Export Taxes & Duties in China

Chris concludes: “Anyone who has a good look around our websites will find a wealth of China and Asia-focused information and intelligence that goes far beyond most online resources. This is only truly sustainable by having a dedicated editorial and professional team that know what they are doing, and a high quality readership that appreciates that, and will pay for premium product so we can continue to support that and deliver such content.”

“I would like to thank all our readers, subscribers and purchasers of our products over the years for helping us become one of the premium providers of solid and dependable China corporate business intelligence and advice. I invite all new visitors here to have a good look around our websites and browse our articles, search for useful items and visit our bookstore. You will find a huge amount of free access market intelligence on all of our websites. We are here to be useful to corporate executives interested in investing in China and Asia, and I encourage new readers to join our experienced intelligence network.”

“With best wishes to China Briefing in reaching this milestone with appreciation from the European business community in China.”
– Joerg Wuttke, Chairman, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

China Briefing Magazine in 2014

Annual Audit and Compliance in China
In this issue of China Briefing, we discuss annual compliance requirements for foreign-invested enterprises, including wholly-foreign owned enterprises, joint ventures and foreign-invested commercial enterprises, as well as the less demanding requirements for representative offices. We also highlight the most recent tax and legal changes that will significantly influence the way companies do business in China in 2014.

Guide to the Shanghai Free Trade Zone
In this issue of China Briefing, we introduce the simplified company establishment procedure unique to the zone and the loosening of capital requirements to be applied nation wide this March. Further, we cover the requirements for setting up a business in the medical, e-commerce, value-added telecommunications, shipping, and banking & finance industries in the zone. We hope this will help you better gauge opportunities in the zone for your particular business.

China Retail Industry Report 2014
In this special edition of China Briefing, we provide an overview of the retail industry in China and the procedures for setting up a retail shop, focusing specifically on brick-and-mortar physical retail stores. Further, we have invited our partner Direct HR to offer some insights on the talent landscape in the retail industry, as well as tips for recruiting retail personnel in China.


Industry Specific Licenses and Certifications in China
In this issue of China Briefing, we provide an overview of the licensing schemes for industrial products; food production, distribution and catering services; and advertising. We also introduce two important types of certification in China: the CCC and the China Energy Label (CEL). This issue will provide you with an understanding of the requirements for selling your products or services in China.


Strategies for Repatriating Profits from China
In this issue of China Briefing, we guide you through the different channels for repatriating profits, including via intercompany expenses (i.e., charging service fees and royalties to the Chinese subsidiary) and loans. We also cover the requirements and procedures for repatriating dividends, as well as how to take advantage of lowered tax rates under double tax avoidance treaties.


Adapting Your China WFOE to Service China’s Consumers
In this issue of China Briefing Magazine, we look at the challenges posed to manufacturers amidst China’s rising labor costs and stricter environmental regulations. Manufacturing WFOEs in China should adapt by expanding their business scope to include distribution and determine suitable supply chain solutions. In this regard, we will take a look at the opportunities in China’s domestic consumer market and forecast the sectors that are set to boom in the coming years.


Revisiting the Shanghai Free Trade Zone: A Year of Reforms
In this issue of China Briefing, we revisit the Shanghai FTZ and its preferential environment for foreign investment. In the first three articles, we highlight the many changes that have been introduced in the Zone’s first year of operations, including the 2014 Revised Negative List, as well as new measures relating to alternative dispute resolution, cash pooling, and logistics. Lastly, we include a case study of a foreign company successfully utilizing the Shanghai FTZ to access the Outbound Tourism Industry.


Double Taxation Avoidance in China: A Business Intelligence Primer
In our twenty-two years of experience in facilitating foreign investment into Asia, Dezan Shira & Associates has witnessed first-hand the development of China’s double taxation avoidance mechanism and established an extensive library of resources for helping foreign investors obtain DTA benefits. In this issue of China Briefing Magazine, we are proud to present the distillation of this knowledge in the form of a business intelligence primer to DTAs in China.


China Investment Roadmap: The Medical Device Industry
In this issue of China Briefing, we present a roadmap for investing in China’s medical device industry, from initial market research, to establishing a manufacturing or trading company in China, to obtaining the licenses needed to make or distribute your products. With our specialized knowledge and experience in the medical industry, Dezan Shira & Associates can help you to newly establish or grow your operations in China and beyond.

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Employing Foreign Nationals in China
In this issue of China Briefing, we have set out to produce a guide to employing foreign nationals in China, from the initial step of applying for work visas, to more advanced subjects such as determining IIT liability and optimizing employee income packages for tax efficiency. Lastly, recognizing that few foreigners immigrate to China on a permanent basis, we provide an overview of methods for remitting RMB abroad.

 Also Available (our latest pan-Asia resources)

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The 2015 Asia Tax Comparator
In this issue of Asia Briefing, we compare and contrast the most relevant tax laws applicable for businesses with a presence in Asia. We analyze the different tax rates of 13 jurisdictions in the region, including India, China, Hong Kong, and the 10 member states of ASEAN, which consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. We also take a look at some of the most important compliance issues that businesses should be aware of, and conclude by discussing some of the most important tax and finance concerns companies will face when entering Asia.

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Establishing Your Sourcing Platform in India
In this issue of India Briefing, we highlight the advantages India possesses as a sourcing option and explore the choices available to foreign companies seeking to create a sourcing presence here. In addition, we examine the relevant procurement, procedural and tax duty concerns involved in sourcing from India, and conclude by investigating the importance of supplier due diligence – a process that, if not conducted correctly, can often prove the undoing of a sourcing venture.

VB_2014_3_issue_cover250_350_1 (1) smallerVietnam: A Guide to HR in Asia’s Next Growth Market
In this issue of Vietnam Briefing, we attempt to clarify human resources (HR) and payroll processes in Vietnam. We first take you through the current trends affecting the HR landscape and then we delve into the process of hiring and paying your employees. We next look at what specific obligations an employer has to their employees. Additionally, we guide you through the often complex system of visas, work permits, and temporary residence cards. Finally, we highlight the benefits of outsourcing your payroll to a “pan-Asia” vendor.


ASEAN Briefing
Full downloadable archive of all ASEAN and member country Free Trade and Double Tax Agreements.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis
 is the Founding Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates – a specialist foreign direct investment practice providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam, in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as liaison offices in Italy, Germany and the United States. For further information, please email or visit

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