What is a Representative Office?
A representative office (RO) is an office opened by a foreign company and often marks the first step toward establishing a business relationship with potential buyers or sellers in China. It is the least expensive, and often the easiest way to make contact and establish a presence in the Chinese market. Opening an RO provides companies with the opportunity to conduct firsthand market research. However, ROs are only allowed to conduct indirect operational services; such as service promotion, market research, product introduction, and quality control. Generally, ROs cannot engage in profitable activities, accept payment for services, or issue receipts. In addition, they cannot directly hire local employees.
1. Certification of Foreign Representative office parent company in China established for more than 2 years.
2. Certificate of incorporations or equivalent document certified by Chinese embassy or consulate.
3. Copy of articles of association certified by Chinese embassy or consulate overseas
4. Letter of authorization from parent company’s director (with name and passport number) authorizing someone in China to sign documentation. Must be certified by Chinese embassy or consulate
5. Letter of authorized signatory certifying parent company’s director (with name and passport number) is the authorized signatory of said company. Must be certified by Chinese embassy or consulate
6. Passport copy of proposed chief representative in China and other representative(s) certified by Chinese embassy or consulate
7. Appointment letter of chief representative in China and other representative(s) certified by Chinese embassy or consulate overseas.
8. Bank reference letter from investor’s bank to declaring good standing. Must be certified by Chinese embassy or consulate overseas.
9. Brief summary of the operations of parent company and Chinese representative office
10. 6 photos (2×2 inch), resume, and passport copy of chief representative in China
11. 2 photos (2×2 inch), resume, and passport copy of any representatives to be stationed in China other than the chief representative
12. Documents provided by landlord of office in China: 2 original leasing contracts of the premise to be used by the representative office (lease term should be at least 12 months); 2 certificate of real estate ownership; 2 copies of landlord’s identification
The first step towards establishing a registration office in China is to apply for a registration certificate from the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC). Once the registration documentation has been collected, the Public Security Bureau (PSB) will produce a company chop and file the documentation. Following this, the company is required to apply for an organization code licence through the Technical Supervision Bureau (TSB) and register with the local taxation bureau. From here, the RO must be registered with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE). Once all of these steps have been negotiated, the company can set up a foreign currency and RMB bank account before the final step; registration with the Statistical Bureau.