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We talk about AICs quite a lot here at China Checkup, so here’s a heads-up on what exactly a China AIC is and why they’re important for anyone interested in China’s business world.
AIC stands for Administration for Industry and Commerce. Technically this is a national organisation with local departments in every administrative region in China (generally each province and major city).
Practically speaking, though, it often makes more sense to see each region’s AIC branch department as an organisation in its own right with jurisdiction over industry and commerce in that region. People tend to use the term ‘AIC’ to refer to the local department, and say ‘State AIC’ or something similar for the national organisation.
Because of this, when people talk about AICs they usually mean an AIC local department and not the whole national apparatus.
China AICs perform a variety of roles in governing industry and commerce in their jurisdiction. This list of roles from Wikipedia gives a pretty clear picture of what AICs do (we’ve taken out the vague items to leave the clearest functions of a China AIC):
As you can see, the AIC is very similar to government bodies such as the Department of Commerce in the US, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in the UK, the Department of Commerce in Australia and so on.
They have a very wide range of roles, so it might not immediately be clear why they’re relevant to anyone wishing to do business with Chinese companies.
The local AIC will obviously impact all business dealings in China and with Chinese companies through its various regulations and work as a governing body.
However, the China AICs are also very useful for anyone interested in doing business with Chinese companies because they provide official registration records for all companies in their jurisdiction to China's National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.
It is through this website that company registration records are available online. This has obvious implications for anyone who’d like to know more about a particular Chinese company!
The company registration information available gives comprehensive information (but only in Chinese) about each registered company in Mainland China, including:
This information can be very useful in assessing a Chinese company if you know how to interpret it.
Tracking down the particular AIC website that you want can be quite tricky without the necessary knowledge and language skills.
Try searching for the name of the administrative region in Chinese combined with terms like “工商行政管理局”, “企业信息” or “红盾”. If that seems a bit daunting, then don’t worry – China Checkup has got you covered, as usual.
We compiled this handy list of AIC websites for each region in China. It’s got the name of the administrative region in English and a link to the AIC website.
When we started China Checkup a few years ago, our answer to this question would have been an unequivocal yes!
However in recent years there have been many incremental improvements to the China AIC websites which have led to the creation of a nationwide search system and standardization across the country in the format of company registration records.
Usability is still an issue but greatly improved. Of course, the single thing making AIC websites hard to use for most of our readers is that they are only in the Chinese language.
Short answer: Yes. The data shown about companies on a China AIC website is the official record and as such is nearly always accurate and reliable. However, it’s important to understand that each AIC updates and maintains its public records on its own schedule, which may be quite irregular and at a ‘relaxed’ pace. Official records are primarily kept in hard-copy as paper records, and the online version is simply updated to reflect the hardcopy version. Because of this, there is some potential for the public records to become out of date and not reflect the most recent state of affairs.
The only way to avoid this problem is to dispatch a Chinese lawyer to go to the AIC in person and request paper copies of a company’s record. This will ensure that you’re seeing the most up-to-date version.
Yes. China Checkup provides a convenient, affordable way to access the official registration records of any company in China. We will retrieve, translate and explain the registration record of a Chinese company you’re interested in, making the information fully accessible to you.
Read more about our Chinese company verification services.