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Can foreigners invest in bonds, funds or real estate on the Chinese mainland?

Yes indeed – Chinese bonds and funds are both open to foreign investors on the mainland, and the property industry was removed from the catalog of restricted investments (opening it to non-Chinese investors) on April 10, 2015. However, at the time of writing, foreign individuals can still only buy one house or apartment.

Bonds and funds can be purchased through either a bank or a securities firm; shop around to see which ones have the products and rates that suit your needs.


Security tips for investing in bonds and funds 

  1. Always use the large, legal securities firms; this is one area where big brand names count. If you’re not sure whether a firm is legit, look it up at the website of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
  2. If you want to be absolutely certain about your investment you could elect to sign up in person, rather than through a website. This way you can be sure that their supposed physical address is their real one, and also check their business license, which should be hanging up on the wall of their office; it will show the company’s name, registered date, registered capital and what activities it is allowed to engage in. You can also check these details on this website. You can also check the company’s tax certificate on your local tax bureau’s website.
  3. If you elect to open your account on the websites of a security firm, make sure that it is the real deal, and not a fake website set up by scammers to steal (or ‘phish’) data and private information.
  4. Beware of private companies or brokers who promise high return rates. All such investments have uncertainties and risks – and, of course, the higher the return, the higher the risk. Those who promise guaranteed returns are, at best, behaving unethically; at worst, they may be members of supposed investment companies that disappear as soon as people pay money into their nonexistent “funds”.
  5. If you can, consult a trustworthy friend who understands and is experienced with securities before you make any decisions – but make sure you make your decision independently.


Security tips on investing in real estate on the mainland

  1. Make sure the property developer in question has the Sale to Foreigners Permit; without this, they cannot legally oversee any sale of property to non-Chinese people. If they are attempting to do so anyway, they may be engaging in a scam.
  2. Check the developer whether has the following five permits: Certificate for the Use of State-Owned Land; Planning Permit for Construction Engineering; Planning Permit for Construction Land Use; Construction Works Permits and Commercial Housing Pre-sale Permits. Without these five permits, any sale of a house or apartment from them is illegal. They should have all of these permits ready to show potential customers.
  3. If you buy a second-hand home, you should check the Property Ownership Certificate and the identity card of the owner to make sure they are the same person. Also, visit the website of your local housing management bureau to check whether that house or apartment is registered in their name to make sure it is a legal property that can be traded. Also, check with the bureau to see whether this property is eligible to have its ownership transferred.
  4. If you buy from an agency, check at the Commercial and Industrial Bureau’s website to see if the agency has been registered with them. Do not give money to the agency until you have confirmed all of the above information..

Help! I’ve been ripped off when buying Chinese bonds, funds or property. What can I do?
If you have been ripped off, you should go to report the crime to the police as early as possible. Take all your contracts, receipts and proofs together with you as proof of the company’s scam. Once it is in the hands of the police, there is little else you can do.


Useful Chinese words and phrases 

基金 jījīn Fund
债券 zhàiquàn Bond
证券 zhèngquàn Securities
证监会 zhèng jiān huì China Securities Regulatory Commission
中介 zhōngjiè Agency
房屋所有者 fángwū suǒyǒuzhě Property owner
房产证 fángchǎn zhèng Property Ownership Certificate
外售证 wàishòu zhèng Sale to Foreigners Permit
预售证 yùshòu zhèng Commercial Housing  Pre-sale Permits
国有土地使用证 guóyǒu tǔdì shǐyòngzhèng Certificate for the Use of State-Owned Land
建设工程规划许可证 jiànshè gōngchéng guīhuá xǔkězhèng Planning Permit for Construction Engineering
建设用地规划许可证 jiànshè yòngdì guīhuá xǔkězhèng Planning Permit for Construction Land Use
建筑工程施工许可证 jiànzhù gōngchéng shīgōng xǔkězhèng Construction Works Permits
商品房预售许可证 shāngpǐnfáng yùshòu xǔkězhèng Commercial Housing Pre-sale Permits




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