How to Launch a Startup in China

In All, Doing Business in China by China Business ForumLeave a Comment

One of the greatest things about the business world in the 21st century is that it has become highly globalized. For example, if you have a great business idea, you are no longer restricted to your home region, but can feel free to open an international office right away. When it comes to this, China is, more or less, a promised land. The reasons behind this are numerous, most important of them being massive government subsidies and business-friendly labor laws. So, for all those interested in starting an international startup, here are few tips on how they could do so in China.

Think About Visa

Some eastern countries such as Korea have the so called startup visa, which allows potential business owners to come in person and check out the business environment on their own. Unfortunately, in China there is no such option available, which means that getting an adequate visa might turn out to be one of more difficult tasks for a young entrepreneur. Your safest bet would probably be to try and go with a short-stay business visa and see where things go from there.

Find the Perfect Location

The first thing you need to be aware of when planning to open up a business in this Asian powerhouse, is that China is a large country. Here, regions are organized into provinces and every city has something different to offer. As a complete layman, your first educated guess would probably be to aim at Beijing, but in reality there are few better spots for you to consider. Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing are just some of the places that are ranked higher than Beijing on the list of best Chinese cities for doing business. Because of this, it might be worth your while to do your share of research before settling for one location.

Local Regulations

Amongst the more difficult tasks you will have to tackle is the issue of the local laws, regulations and requirements. For example, in most parts of the US surety bonds are mandatory and it is vital that you check where China stands on this issue as well. Furthermore, you need to be aware that even though you are doing business in China, you are subject to both the Chinese law and that of your native country. So, for example, US companies opening an office in China are subjects of both Chinese and US laws.

Find a Local Business Partner

From the previous section, it was more than clear that you might need some help. Well, the best way to handle this is to find a reliable local partner to help you out. You do not necessarily have to find someone who is actually from China. All you need is someone who is knowledgeable of local business regulations and practices, which usually means someone who has been doing business in China for quite some time. Naturally, you want someone with as many contacts as possible, since this might turn out to be a deal breaker.

A Different Experience

One last thing, even though we mostly focused on business aspects of starting an offshore company, you are still supposed to relocate to a completely different location. Here, you will face a different climate, different customs and above all different people. Sure, you might get a free pass on being foreign every now and then, but do not expect this to always work to your advantage. Simply, acknowledge the fact that you are now in a different environment than what you are used to and find the best way to cope with it.


Of course, no list is big enough to cover all aspects of starting a business in a foreign country. For example, you need to prepare yourself for dealing with foreign currency, adjust to a different time zone and, of course, get the feel of the local economy. Nonetheless, there is bound to be a reason why all the giants like Apple and Samsung decided to move most of their manufacturing to China. With just a bit of careful planning, proper preparation and a bit of luck, you might just find a way to profit off of this as well.

Oscar Waterworth


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