China Bank Account Certificates Explained
What: A China bank account certificate authorizes a company registered in Mainland China to open a corporate bank account and conduct business in China.
Why: The China bank account certificate is one more piece of documentation that helps you verify that a Chinese company is a legitimate, legal business. It also provides you with the ability to make payments to and from the company’s official bank account.
Numerous documents, certificates, and forms go into establishing an official business relationship with a Chinese company. We explained many of these documents in other introductory guides in our ongoing series of articles designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses navigate the sometimes complex landscape of doing business with Chinese companies. In this article, we explore the details of the China bank account certificate, a document that authorizes a company registered in Mainland China to open a corporate bank account and conduct business in China. It also provides you with the ability to make payments to and from the official bank account.
The title "开户许可证" appears at the top of the China bank account certificate, which means “Open Bank Account Permit.” The following entries appear on the certificate:
Permit Number (核准号), a 14-digit code beginning with a letter followed by 13 numbers
Certificate Number (编号), typically 12 numbers
Official Company Name
Legal Representative or Responsible Person (法定代表人/单位负责人)
Opening Bank Name (开户银行)
Bank Account Number (账号)
Issuing Authority (发证机关), including a red stamp from the People’s Bank of China (see below)
Year (年), Month (月), and Day (日)
The People’s Bank of China remains the only entity that can issue a China bank account certificate. While other banks may apply for this certificate when a newly registered Mainland China company applies for a corporate bank account with a Chinese bank, the People’s Bank of China must approve all certificates. The red seal appearing in the bottom-right corner of the China bank account certificate indicates its approval.
The Chinese government requires that all companies registered in Mainland China must obtain a China bank account certificate when it applies to open an account with a Chinese bank. Once the company receives an approved certificate, it then may open other accounts such as foreign currency accounts. Small- and medium-sized businesses doing business in China should follow a good rule of thumb and ensure that the Chinese company makes payments exclusively to the bank account indicated on the China bank account certificate. However, it is important to note that starting in early 2019, newly registered Chinese businesses will no longer be issued printed bank account certificates.
As with all Chinese documents, you should take steps to ensure that the China bank account certificate is official and valid. We’ve outlined the steps you can take to verify the validity of a Chinese document in our companion article “Certifying Chinese documents’ authenticity.”
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