Deciphering the “Organization Code” and the “China Business License” Without Knowing Chinese

By | May 5, 2016


We have discussed in the past the importance of the information coming from both the Organization Code and Business License in China. Companies simply cannot work without either, and the information about the business (name, address, etc.) provided on these documents should be current/ up to date. The problem is that many of us overseas looking for Chinese business partners are not fluent in Chinese, reading or even trying to type out Chinese characters on a computer is a difficulty.
Luckily, CNBizCheck is here to help with all of these problems, and today we want to share some tips with you on how to decipher these documents to help you in your search of a reliable business contact in China.


The Business License

Like most other countries, China requires all companies doing business within its borders to register and declare their operating status. To register, companies must apply to the government to obtain a license, this license is renewed annually to ensure the continuation of good business. When planning business in China or searching for partners in China, the Chinese Business License should be a tool to ensure successful cooperation.

The modern business license, started November 2014, contains a QR code and is standardized for alltypes of businesses. As shown in the picture below, the title should read “营业执照”. Underneath the title should be the registration number “注册号”. The body of the license should have: The name, type of company, address, legal representative, registered capital, and date established. In the previous versions of the business license, different categories of licenses were given to different types of businesses, as we can see in the image provided, all types of businesses now have a uniform license. The license should also have red stamp, and a QR code at the bottom, where anyone can use a mobile device to scan to view more information about the enterprise in question.


The Organization Code Certificate

The “Organization Code Certificate”, in short, “Organization Code” is a type of certificate any institution must apply for if it plans to take part in economic or social activities. The Organization Code is administrated by China’s National Administration for Code Allocation to Organizations (全国组织机构代码管理中心) or NACAO. It is the main mechanism for legally registering an institution in China. Each legally registered organization, be it a business, social organization, or private non-enterprise units is provided its own identification number, which acts as a type of identification number for the institution. The Organization Code is the way the Chinese Government collects data and enforces policy on the operation of large organizations, be it social, business, or philanthropic in nature.


The Organization Code Certificate includes both a hard copy (containing an IC card) and an electronic copy. The registration code number includes a total of 8 numeric digits followed by an uppercase letter A-Z.

Underneath of the number, there is a barcode, and underneath that is the:

name of the establishment,

type of organization,

legal representative,

the relevant address,

its effective date,

the police issuing address,

the relevant phone number.

On the next page, there should be a red stamp underneath a body of text and at the bottom of the page, a number should be listed. The physical copy of the Organization Code should be printed with fluorescent security inks, and is printed in anti-altering shading. The electronic version should have the watermark “NACAO” on the front.


Using the Business License with CNBizCheck’s Basic Reports

The Chinese Business License and Organization Code are important materials to use when researching a company. If you are receiving either of these documents from a contact in China, using a third party to verify is extremely important, the problem is that third party verification is hard to come by currently. Luckily, CNBizCheck provides reports generated from government databases offering the most current and up to date information on any given business. Shown below is a sample of CNBizCheck’s basic report services. Our reports show the same information as the Business License and Organization Code as well as more in depth components. Our basic verification is only $99, and could potentially help you and your business when deciding on business partners in China!



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