Do I need an office to register my business?

In your opinion, your company might not need a physical office to get off the ground. The authorities giving out licenses on the Chinese mainland disagree.


The office: a requirement

It doesn’t matter what line of business you’re in. It doesn’t matter if you’re a representative office, joint venture or WFOE. If you’re registering your company on the Chinese mainland, you will need to prove that your have a physical office space. Virtual office arrangements are not accepted.

Don’t think you can simply register your apartment as your “office.” Whether your rent or own the space, your office must be located in a property designated as an office building.

When registering your business, you’ll need the following papers related to your office: 

  1. Original copy of the office lease.
  2. A copy of the property ownership certificate (from the owner of the space).
  3. A copy of a permit from the local Foreign Economic Relation & Trade Commission (indicating that the property may be used by a foreign company).
  4. Rental contract records (from the local housing administration bureau).
  5. Documents proving your business is based in that office (the building management company should be able to provide these if you’re uncertain).
  6. If the owner of the office you rent is not Chinese, the lease must be notarized.


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