Attending the China International Import Exposition?

Here’s our practical advice for doing business in China now: trademarks, business cards and more

The Fifth China International Import Exposition (CIIE) starts tomorrow (5 November) and lasts till the 10 November. CIIE was first announced in May 2017 by President Xi Jinping during the Belt and Road Forum as a platform to actively open the Chinese market to the world in support of trade liberalization and economic globalisation. Since the first expo, significant events have occurred in the global world and shifted the business landscape. Though CIIE remains a top priority for many global businesses as it is recongised as a platform to connect with the Chinese market and launch innovative products or services.

For those attending CIIE for the first time, navigating the business world in China can be daunting and challenging, we offer practical tips to demystify doing business in China.

Protect your trademarks

The Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China utilises as “first come, first serve” approach in filing an application at the Trademark Bureau, with approved applicants having priority over the subsequent application of trademark in similar classes of goods. Therefore, before entering into the China market, the first step is to file the trademark registration in China.

Although, companies may raise an opposition if they discover their trademark is preliminarily published in the trademark gazette, within a three-period. Otherwise the company may apply for cancellation, if the trademark has been registered for over three years without any usage,

Present your business cards

Business cards are essential in China. During initial meetings, the parties involved will present their name card upon introduction, holding the card with both hands, faced up. Cards from non-Chinese will typically include Chinese language information that corresponds to the native language on the card. In today’s digital era, business cards may be presented in electronic form, such as is popular for WeChat users. (Tip: if doing business in China, WeChat is a must.)

Conduct due diligence

Prior to business negotiations, it is essential to conduct a due diligence. For example, the business scope of the company should be verified. In China, companies are limited to business activities defined in the business scope. Any business conducted outside of the registered business scope of a company is forbidden, unless the company changes the business scope by first amending its articles of association and then completing the amendment formalities. If the business activity is not registered on the business scope, then the company is, in all likelihood, illegally conducting business outside of their business scope.

Ensure contract are affixed with the corporate seal

Without, the affixation of the corporate seal on the contract, the contract is null and void.  Each registered company is required by law to hold a set of corporate seals (sometimes referred to as a “company chop”), which is presented at the public security bureau for approval. Once the corporate seals are approved, they are micro-fined and registered with the government. The primary seal of a company is the corporate seal, which is the representative of the company and utilised to conclude contracts. Only when the contact is sealed with the corporate seal, the contract is concluded and effective.

If you have questions or concerns related to doing business in China or other related matters, please contact Horizons at +86 21 5356 3400 or talktous@horizons-advisory.com.