China to Allow One Location/Multiple Office Registrations

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China has recently announced its decision to simplify companies’ registration and establishment procedures. In the recent “Opinions of the State Council on Further Supporting Employment and Entrepreneurship” (Guo Fa [2015] No.23, promulgated by the State Council on April 27, 2015) the announcement clarifies that the National Organization Code Certificate and Tax Registration Certificate will no longer be issued separately. Instead, the local Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) will issue a special business license to enterprises with both organization code and tax registration code on it. Further, the AIC is looking to implement a unified “business registration code” to replace the current three codes for company registration within this year. Multiple entities will be allowed to list the same registered address on their respective license.

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This news has a significant impact on the professional services industry and especially those involved in corporate registrations and corporate secretarial work. While previously businesses had to be in a specific business premises and were not allowed to share locations with any other company, this ruling means that offices may be shared and contain multiple companies, opening up scope for managing corporate secretarial work as is common in countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong. It also further liberalizes the serviced offices industry, which has had to operate in China under very specific agreements, and paves the way for ‘virtual offices’ to be operational in China.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates comments “This is good news for foreign entrepreneurs as it will allow low cost, shared rental of premises at start up or early investment stages when capital is often tight. It also opens the door for co-sec services to start to take hold in China which will again reduce costs and promote an additional aspect of the professional services industry.”


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