0

Registering Foreign Investment Enterprises in China / 外商投资企业在华注册登记办法


Author: Pang Tao

Registering Foreign Investment Enterprises in China

Foreign Investment Enterprises (FIE) are one of Mainland China’s main forms of foreign direct investment (FDI). FIEs include Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises (WFOE), Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures (JV), and Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures. In my experience working as a foreign investment lawyer, in recent years WFOE has become the primary choice of foreign businesses investing in China.
As for how to establish an FIE accurately, we can only analyze this on a case-by-case basis. We’ll use the following case only as an example to describe the process of establishing the most common type of FIE:

Step I. Preliminary Research: Investors, Consulting Firms, Lawyers, etc.
Before establishing an FIE, a foreign business must understand China’s industry policies. This will guarantee that from its establishment, the FIE will receive the protection of Chinese laws in its industry. Among the first tasks, all involved in setting up the FIE should read the 2011 revision of “Catalogue of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment,” which divides foreign investment into four domains – encouraged, restricted, prohibited, and permitted. Investors must determine the industry in which they will be engaged and be sure to avoid the prohibited category. According to what I have seen in practice, the majority of FIEs established belong to the permitted category. Generally speaking, investors only need to refer to the above-mentioned guide. However, in some Chinese cities, the authorities in charge of examination and approval of foreign investment will also use the “Catalogue for Guiding Industrial Restructuring” implemented by the National Development and Reform Committee in 2011.

Step II. Document Preparation: Investors, Consulting Firms, Lawyers, etc.
After the FIE’s category has been researched and determined as anything but prohibited, investors in particular must prepare FIE establishment material. The material generally includes but is not limited to the following:
1. A house lease agreement (generally, one must work out this document with a landlord)
2. Enterprise governance documents (articles of association, equity joint venture contract, contractual joint venture contract, director appointment letter, supervisory member appointment letters)
3. Investor’s incorporation certificate (the certificate usually needs to be notarized in the host country and approved by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the host country)
4. Investor’s bank reference letter (provided by the investors’ overseas acquiescent account)
5. A variety of government forms – for example, the application for name pre-approval, environmental impact registration, FIE establishment registration application, etc. (For the most part, you can download these from the local government websites.)
6. Feasibility study report (Generally, a lawyer’s office or consulting firm will help the investor with this.)

Step III. Name Pre-approval: Relevant Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce
Pursuant to PRC law, a FIE’s name is generally in Chinese and consists of the components in the following order: the trade name, business operational characteristics and organizational form. The name of the local administrative area is usually added before the trade name or between the trade and the organizational form (when between the trade name and the organizational form, the name of the administrative area must be used in parentheses; additionally, in this method the trade name of the FIE should use the investor’s trade name). The FIE can add the Chinese character for “China” into its name after being approved by the State Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce (SAIC). For example, in an enterprise named “Meyer (China) Trade Company, Ltd,” the “Meyer” title is the trade name, generally speaking, chosen by the investor, and among this, “(China)” has been approved by the SAIC; “trade” is in the company’s business operational form, and the organizational form is “Company, Ltd.”

In order to have the FIE’s name approved, investors must first fill out name pre-approval application forms. Once the relevant Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce has approved the name, the FIE will receive the name along with official notification of its approval.

Step IV. Environmental Impact Assessment: Environmental Protection Bureau
In terms of investors seeking to establish a manufacturing FIE, after the enterprise’s name is approved, the investors need to report to the local environmental protection bureau about environmental protection affairs. The environmental protection bureau will conduct an environmental impact analysis, forecast, and evaluation on the environmental impact which is likely caused by the FIE. This entire process is called the environmental impact assessment, and in Chinese the title is abbreviated from “环境影响评价” into “环保评价” or “环评.”

When an FIE has passed the environmental impact assessment, the environmental protection bureau will issue approval documents; after the FIE is established and has begun production, the environmental protection bureau will conduct an environmental inspection review.

Step V. Examination and Approval: Ministry of Commerce
The Ministry of Commerce is in charge of examining and approving foreign investment and managing foreign capital. At the central level, the department name is Ministry of Commerce (abbreviated MOFCOM), but at the local level the department name has many different versions and can simply be known as the Commercial Department.

When a FIE has been examined and approved by the Commercial Department, the FIE will receive the document “Certificate of Approval for Establishment of Foreign Investment Enterprise” At this point the FIE needs to prepare the following key documents: 1. Proof that the industry the FIE engages in will not be classified as a prohibited industry (for details see the above mentioned step I); 2. Proof of the investors’ well-established credit position (the investors will need a home country bank to issue a bank reference letter); 3. A feasibility report (judging from my experience, in recent years this report has become a mere formality and the substantive meaning has been lost).

Step VI. Enterprise Establishment: Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce (“AIC”)

Generally speaking, after finishing the previously mentioned steps, the next step follows as a matter of formality – submitting all the name pre-approval documents, environmental assessment documents, certificate of approval for establishment of foreign investment enterprise and those mentioned in Step II to the AIC. The AIC will give the FIE a business license, and from the day the FIE has this license, it is officially established.

Once the FIE has a business license, in the eyes of the law the FIE is already established and can begin commercial activities. However, most FIEs at this point are unable to begin business and generally need to complete the following, though not limited to:

1. Engraving of various seals
2. Apply for organization code certificate
3. Open a bank account
4. Register at the tax bureau
5. Register at the finance bureau
6. Register at the foreign currency bureau
7. Register at the customs office (if necessary)

Writer: Pang Tao, Hopkins Nanjing Center Certificate 2011-2012
Translator: Marta Casey, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13

作者:庞涛

外商投资企业在华注册登记办法

在中国大陆,外商直接投资(FDI)的方式有多种,其中以外商投资企业(Foreign Investment Enterprise,简称FIE)为主要方式。FIE包括外商独资企业(Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprise,简称WFOE)、中外合资经营企业(Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Venture,简称JV)和中外合作经营企业(Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Venture)。根据笔者经验,近年来,WFOE越来越成为外商在华投资的首选形式。
某一FIE准确的设立流程如何,只能个案分析,以下内容仅针对FIE设立的最一般的流程展开叙述:

一、 前期调研——涉及部门:投资者、咨询公司、律师事务所等
设立FIE之前,外商必须了解中国的产业政策,确保待设立的FIE从事的行业受中国法律保护。首当其中应该阅读的文件是2011年修订的《外商投资产业指导目录》,该文件将外商投资的领域界定为四类,即鼓励类、限制类、禁止类以及允许类。投资者必须确定FIE从事的行业不会落入禁止类。

二、 文件准备——涉及部门:投资者、咨询公司、律师事务所等
在调研结果为肯定性的情况下,投资者便应该着手准备FIE设立的资料,这些资料将包括但不限于:
1. 房屋租赁协议(此文件大多需要与房东谈判确立);
2. 企业治理文件(如公司章程、合资经营合同、合作经营合同、董事任命函、监事任命函等);
3. 投资者的注册登记证书(该证书往往需要投资者所在国或所在地区公证机关公证并由我国驻当地使领馆认证);
4. 投资者的银行资信证明(由投资者境外开户银行出具);
5. 各种官方表格,如名称预核准申请书、环境影响登记表、外商投资企业设立登记申请书等(一般可以从当地政府官网上可以下载);
6. 可行性研究报告(一般由律师事务所或咨询公司协助投资者编制)。

三、 名称预先核准——涉及部门:工商行政管理部门
待设FIE的法定名称一般是中文,并由字号、经营特点、组织形式组成,其名称前或名称后组织形式前一般需要加入当地的行政区划(在名称后组织形式前加入的行政区划需要使用括号,并且采取这种做法的FIE的字号需要使用投资者的字号)。FIE经国家工商行政管理总局的批准,还可以加入类如“中国”字样。例如某企业全称为“美亚(中国)贸易有限公司”,其中的“美亚”即字号,一般可以由投资者的字号音译而来,其中的“(中国)”即由国家工商管理总局批准使用的,“贸易”系该公司的曰经营特点,其组织形式是“有限公司”。

投资者需要填写名称预核准申请书并申报FIE的名称,经工商部门核准后,获得名称预核准通知书。

四、 环保评价——涉及部门:环保部门
对于希望设立生产型FIE的投资者而言,需要在名称核准之后向当地的环保机关进行环保申报,环保机关对FIE设立后可能造成的环境影响进行分析、预测和评估,这即被称为环境影响评价,简称“环保评价”或“环评”。

对于环评通过的FIE,环保机关会颁发核准文件。

五、 审查批准——涉及部门:商务部门
商务部门是外商投资的审批部门,主管外资事务,它在中央的名称为商务部(Ministry of Commerce,简称MOFCOM),它在地方上的名称纷繁多样,可以统称为“商务部门”。

通过商务部门审批的FIE,会获得核准文件“外商投资企业批准证书”,这样的FIE需要至少具备如下两个关键的条件:1. 所从事的行业不为中国禁止(详情见上文第一步);2. 投资者具有良好的资信状况(需要投资者本国或本地区银行出具资信函)。

六、 企业成立——涉及部门:工商行政管理部门
将前述的名称预核准文件、环保审批文件、外商投资企业批准证书连同第二步中准备的相关文件提交至工商部门,该部门将给予FIE颁发营业执照,FIE自营业执照颁发日起正式成立,具备从事商业活动的资格。

至此,FIE还需要继续完成下列程序(但不限于)才可以正式的从事经营活动:

1、 印章刻制
2、 申请组织机构代码证书
3、 银行开户
4、 税务登记
5、 财政登记
6、 外汇登记
7、 海关登记(视情况选择此项)

作者:庞涛,中美中心证书项目2011-2012

Author: Pang Tao

Registering Foreign Investment Enterprises in China

Foreign Investment Enterprises (FIE) are one of Mainland China’s main forms of foreign direct investment (FDI). FIEs include Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises (WFOE), Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures (JV), and Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Ventures. In my experience working as a foreign investment lawyer, in recent years WFOE has become the primary choice of foreign businesses investing in China.
As for how to establish an FIE accurately, we can only analyze this on a case-by-case basis. We’ll use the following case only as an example to describe the process of establishing the most common type of FIE:

Step I. Preliminary Research: Investors, Consulting Firms, Lawyers, etc.
Before establishing an FIE, a foreign business must understand China’s industry policies. This will guarantee that from its establishment, the FIE will receive the protection of Chinese laws in its industry. Among the first tasks, all involved in setting up the FIE should read the 2011 revision of “Catalogue of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment,” which divides foreign investment into four domains – encouraged, restricted, prohibited, and permitted. Investors must determine the industry in which they will be engaged and be sure to avoid the prohibited category. According to what I have seen in practice, the majority of FIEs established belong to the permitted category. Generally speaking, investors only need to refer to the above-mentioned guide. However, in some Chinese cities, the authorities in charge of examination and approval of foreign investment will also use the “Catalogue for Guiding Industrial Restructuring” implemented by the National Development and Reform Committee in 2011.

Step II. Document Preparation: Investors, Consulting Firms, Lawyers, etc.
After the FIE’s category has been researched and determined as anything but prohibited, investors in particular must prepare FIE establishment material. The material generally includes but is not limited to the following:
1. A house lease agreement (generally, one must work out this document with a landlord)
2. Enterprise governance documents (articles of association, equity joint venture contract, contractual joint venture contract, director appointment letter, supervisory member appointment letters)
3. Investor’s incorporation certificate (the certificate usually needs to be notarized in the host country and approved by the Chinese embassy or consulate in the host country)
4. Investor’s bank reference letter (provided by the investors’ overseas acquiescent account)
5. A variety of government forms – for example, the application for name pre-approval, environmental impact registration, FIE establishment registration application, etc. (For the most part, you can download these from the local government websites.)
6. Feasibility study report (Generally, a lawyer’s office or consulting firm will help the investor with this.)

Step III. Name Pre-approval: Relevant Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce
Pursuant to PRC law, a FIE’s name is generally in Chinese and consists of the components in the following order: the trade name, business operational characteristics and organizational form. The name of the local administrative area is usually added before the trade name or between the trade and the organizational form (when between the trade name and the organizational form, the name of the administrative area must be used in parentheses; additionally, in this method the trade name of the FIE should use the investor’s trade name). The FIE can add the Chinese character for “China” into its name after being approved by the State Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce (SAIC). For example, in an enterprise named “Meyer (China) Trade Company, Ltd,” the “Meyer” title is the trade name, generally speaking, chosen by the investor, and among this, “(China)” has been approved by the SAIC; “trade” is in the company’s business operational form, and the organizational form is “Company, Ltd.”

In order to have the FIE’s name approved, investors must first fill out name pre-approval application forms. Once the relevant Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce has approved the name, the FIE will receive the name along with official notification of its approval.

Step IV. Environmental Impact Assessment: Environmental Protection Bureau
In terms of investors seeking to establish a manufacturing FIE, after the enterprise’s name is approved, the investors need to report to the local environmental protection bureau about environmental protection affairs. The environmental protection bureau will conduct an environmental impact analysis, forecast, and evaluation on the environmental impact which is likely caused by the FIE. This entire process is called the environmental impact assessment, and in Chinese the title is abbreviated from “环境影响评价” into “环保评价” or “环评.”

When an FIE has passed the environmental impact assessment, the environmental protection bureau will issue approval documents; after the FIE is established and has begun production, the environmental protection bureau will conduct an environmental inspection review.

Step V. Examination and Approval: Ministry of Commerce
The Ministry of Commerce is in charge of examining and approving foreign investment and managing foreign capital. At the central level, the department name is Ministry of Commerce (abbreviated MOFCOM), but at the local level the department name has many different versions and can simply be known as the Commercial Department.

When a FIE has been examined and approved by the Commercial Department, the FIE will receive the document “Certificate of Approval for Establishment of Foreign Investment Enterprise” At this point the FIE needs to prepare the following key documents: 1. Proof that the industry the FIE engages in will not be classified as a prohibited industry (for details see the above mentioned step I); 2. Proof of the investors’ well-established credit position (the investors will need a home country bank to issue a bank reference letter); 3. A feasibility report (judging from my experience, in recent years this report has become a mere formality and the substantive meaning has been lost).

Step VI. Enterprise Establishment: Administration Bureau on Industry and Commerce (“AIC”)

Generally speaking, after finishing the previously mentioned steps, the next step follows as a matter of formality – submitting all the name pre-approval documents, environmental assessment documents, certificate of approval for establishment of foreign investment enterprise and those mentioned in Step II to the AIC. The AIC will give the FIE a business license, and from the day the FIE has this license, it is officially established.

Once the FIE has a business license, in the eyes of the law the FIE is already established and can begin commercial activities. However, most FIEs at this point are unable to begin business and generally need to complete the following, though not limited to:

1. Engraving of various seals
2. Apply for organization code certificate
3. Open a bank account
4. Register at the tax bureau
5. Register at the finance bureau
6. Register at the foreign currency bureau
7. Register at the customs office (if necessary)

Writer: Pang Tao, Hopkins Nanjing Center Certificate 2011-2012
Translator: Marta Casey, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13


作者:庞涛

外商投资企业在华注册登记办法

在中国大陆,外商直接投资(FDI)的方式有多种,其中以外商投资企业(Foreign Investment Enterprise,简称FIE)为主要方式。FIE包括外商独资企业(Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprise,简称WFOE)、中外合资经营企业(Chinese-Foreign Equity Joint Venture,简称JV)和中外合作经营企业(Chinese-Foreign Contractual Joint Venture)。根据笔者经验,近年来,WFOE越来越成为外商在华投资的首选形式。
某一FIE准确的设立流程如何,只能个案分析,以下内容仅针对FIE设立的最一般的流程展开叙述:

一、 前期调研——涉及部门:投资者、咨询公司、律师事务所等
设立FIE之前,外商必须了解中国的产业政策,确保待设立的FIE从事的行业受中国法律保护。首当其中应该阅读的文件是2011年修订的《外商投资产业指导目录》,该文件将外商投资的领域界定为四类,即鼓励类、限制类、禁止类以及允许类。投资者必须确定FIE从事的行业不会落入禁止类。

二、 文件准备——涉及部门:投资者、咨询公司、律师事务所等
在调研结果为肯定性的情况下,投资者便应该着手准备FIE设立的资料,这些资料将包括但不限于:
1. 房屋租赁协议(此文件大多需要与房东谈判确立);
2. 企业治理文件(如公司章程、合资经营合同、合作经营合同、董事任命函、监事任命函等);
3. 投资者的注册登记证书(该证书往往需要投资者所在国或所在地区公证机关公证并由我国驻当地使领馆认证);
4. 投资者的银行资信证明(由投资者境外开户银行出具);
5. 各种官方表格,如名称预核准申请书、环境影响登记表、外商投资企业设立登记申请书等(一般可以从当地政府官网上可以下载);
6. 可行性研究报告(一般由律师事务所或咨询公司协助投资者编制)。

三、 名称预先核准——涉及部门:工商行政管理部门
待设FIE的法定名称一般是中文,并由字号、经营特点、组织形式组成,其名称前或名称后组织形式前一般需要加入当地的行政区划(在名称后组织形式前加入的行政区划需要使用括号,并且采取这种做法的FIE的字号需要使用投资者的字号)。FIE经国家工商行政管理总局的批准,还可以加入类如“中国”字样。例如某企业全称为“美亚(中国)贸易有限公司”,其中的“美亚”即字号,一般可以由投资者的字号音译而来,其中的“(中国)”即由国家工商管理总局批准使用的,“贸易”系该公司的曰经营特点,其组织形式是“有限公司”。

投资者需要填写名称预核准申请书并申报FIE的名称,经工商部门核准后,获得名称预核准通知书。

四、 环保评价——涉及部门:环保部门
对于希望设立生产型FIE的投资者而言,需要在名称核准之后向当地的环保机关进行环保申报,环保机关对FIE设立后可能造成的环境影响进行分析、预测和评估,这即被称为环境影响评价,简称“环保评价”或“环评”。

对于环评通过的FIE,环保机关会颁发核准文件。

五、 审查批准——涉及部门:商务部门
商务部门是外商投资的审批部门,主管外资事务,它在中央的名称为商务部(Ministry of Commerce,简称MOFCOM),它在地方上的名称纷繁多样,可以统称为“商务部门”。

通过商务部门审批的FIE,会获得核准文件“外商投资企业批准证书”,这样的FIE需要至少具备如下两个关键的条件:1. 所从事的行业不为中国禁止(详情见上文第一步);2. 投资者具有良好的资信状况(需要投资者本国或本地区银行出具资信函)。

六、 企业成立——涉及部门:工商行政管理部门
将前述的名称预核准文件、环保审批文件、外商投资企业批准证书连同第二步中准备的相关文件提交至工商部门,该部门将给予FIE颁发营业执照,FIE自营业执照颁发日起正式成立,具备从事商业活动的资格。

至此,FIE还需要继续完成下列程序(但不限于)才可以正式的从事经营活动:

1、 印章刻制
2、 申请组织机构代码证书
3、 银行开户
4、 税务登记
5、 财政登记
6、 外汇登记
7、 海关登记(视情况选择此项)

作者:庞涛,中美中心证书项目2011-2012

Leave a reply