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Navigating the Process of Starting a Business in China

Starting a business in China is different from Western countries due to cultural, language, and regulatory complexities. Understanding these fundamentals is crucial for foreign investors to mitigate risks.

For detailed guidance, refer to "8 Steps to Starting a Business in China," which outlines the procedures necessary to establish a company in China.

Steps to Start a Business in China:

1. Conduct China Market Research and Plan Conducting market research is essential for foreign investors. This helps identify the best opportunities, target clients, resources, and potential risks.

2. Select a Location & City Choosing the right location is critical. Major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou offer the best business environments. Each city has unique advantages, such as Shanghai's financial hub and the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone's investment-friendly policies.

3. Test the Market with a China PEO & Employment Agency Establishing a business in China can be time-consuming and costly. Testing the market through a China PEO & employment agency allows investors to hire employees and assess the market before setting up a company.

4. Choose a Company Structure/Type Selecting the right company structure is crucial. Options include Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises (WFOEs), Representative Offices, and Joint Ventures. Each has its advantages and regulatory requirements.

5. Create Your Company/Legal Entity Once the company type is selected, prepare the necessary documents and engage an experienced formation vendor to streamline the process.

6. Open Corporate Accounts After registration, open mandatory corporate accounts, including bank accounts and social insurance accounts, to begin official operations.

7. Protect Your Intellectual Property Registering intellectual property is vital for protection in China. This includes patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

8. Start Monthly and Yearly Administrative Operations Ongoing operations include monthly payroll, tax declarations, social insurance contributions, bookkeeping, and annual audits. These can be managed in-house or outsourced.

Starting a business in China involves comprehensive research and experienced service providers to ensure smooth and compliant market entry.

Can Woodburn help you?


Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China’s most trusted business setup advisory firms.

Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is specialized in inbound investment to China and Hong Kong. We focus on eliminating the complexities of corporate services and compliance administration. We help clients with services ranging from trademark registration and company incorporation to the full outsourcing solution for accounting, tax, and human resource services. Our advisory services can be tailor-made based on the companies’ objectives, goals and needs which vary depending on the stage they are at on their journey.


Talk to an expert

Schedule a 30-mins complimentary, no-obligation call to see how Woodburn can help you. Book a call with our Head of Business Advisory - Kristina Koehler-Coluccia.

Topics we can advise on include:

  • Company Registration

  • Cloud Accounting & Financial Reporting

  • Cloud Payroll Services

  • Tax & Audit Services

  • Recruitment

  • Employer-of-Record

  • Visa Application

  • Trademark Registration

  • Switch to Woodburn

  • Partner with Woodburn (cross referral) 

Our calls are automatically scheduled via Zoom - or via Teams, WeChat or WhatsApp upon direct request. 

Our advisory calls are available from Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm CEST and Wednesday until 9pm CEST.



Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China and Hong Kong’s
most trusted business setup advisory firms

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