When establishing a company in China, whether as a Representative Office (RO) or a Foreign Invested Enterprise (FIE), it is mandatory to have a physical office location. Chinese law requires companies to have an actual work space, whether it is owned or rented. Simply having a virtual office with a phone number and mailing address is not sufficient.

In order to register a company in China, it is necessary to provide documentation proving the existence of office space, such as a lease contract or certificate of ownership. It is important to note that only one business is allowed per office unit, and registering multiple businesses at one location is not permitted. To ensure compliance with this requirement, the Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) conducts annual inspections and company visits.

If a company is found to be non-compliant, the AIC has the authority to revoke its business license. However, for foreign investors looking to set up manufacturing facilities in China, the office space requirement is generally not an issue. For start-ups or foreign companies wanting to test the market before committing to a physical office space, there are virtual and serviced office providers that offer flexible terms and more accessible prices. It is important to choose a provider that meets the AIC's standards, including having a separate door with independent access to the office and a desk to work on.

There are a number of providers that meet these standards, Here at ATF Group we can help you choose and register a legal office space for your business license. Using a serviced office provider not only helps meet the office space requirement, but also offers additional on-demand services such as IT packages, secretarial support, and meeting rooms. Some providers cater specifically to foreign companies and have English-speaking staff. They can also assist with government visits, inspections, and compliance matters. Having someone available to handle government requests and inspections in the absence of entrepreneurs who are frequently out of the office can be crucial.

It is unfortunate that some foreign companies have faced difficulties because their office space provider failed to inform them of important government notifications. Lastly, it is essential to ensure that only one business is registered at a particular office unit. While it is possible to have a dedicated office unit for registration purposes and share additional office space, registering multiple businesses at one location is not allowed.

Overall, having a physical office space is a requirement for registering a company in China. However, there are options available for those who prefer a more flexible arrangement. It is important to choose a provider that meets the AIC's standards and offers additional services to assist with compliance and government interactions.

Image of The Top 5 cities to start your Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in China
The Top 5 cities to start your Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in China

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