The SAIC (State Administration for Industry and Commerce) is a national administrative body with many regional, provincial, and municipal bureaus that regulate commerce and industry activities in their respective jurisdictions.
An SAIC office provides you with important information about the legitimacy of a Chinese company, most critically, its official registration records.
In the course of setting up a business relationship with a Chinese company, you’ll very likely encounter the acronym SAIC (sometimes referred to simply as the AIC), which stands for the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (国家工商行政管理总局 in Chinese). This body oversees the administration and legislation of commerce and industry in China, although in 2018, the Chinese government announced it will be consolidating SAIC with several other agencies into a body known as the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). However, you may still encounter references to the SAIC for the next 12 to 24 months as the consolidation continues to move forward. We explain its (current) primary role and function in this article.
While the SAIC is a national body, its administers oversight through a network of provincial, regional, and municipal offices, each of which remain responsible for overseeing matters related to industry and commerce in their respective jurisdiction.
Specifically, the SAIC oversees a number of aspects of commerce and industry, including several legal functions:
- Unfair competition enforcement
- Direct selling regulation
- Consumer protection
- Market regulation
- Food circulation regulation
- Enterprise registration
- Foreign-invested enterprises registration
- Advertising regulation
- Private economy regulation
As is the case with many government and administrative bodies in China, the SAIC holds particular relevance for small- and medium-sized businesses seeking to do business in China with a Chinese company. In particular, the SAIC offices supply official registration records for companies under their administration in China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System where a company’s registration records are indexed.
Containing some of the same information as a business license, a Chinese company’s registration record will contain additional details including:
- Registered name
- Registration number
- Legal representative
- Registered address
- Registered capital
- Paid-up capital
- Business status
- Business type
- Establishment date
- Operation period
- Registering authority
- Processing authority
- Business scope
- Annual returns
- Business registration changes
Locating the appropriate office
As we mentioned above, within the next two years (by 2020), the majority of the AIC offices will have merged within the SAMR organization. While there exists a comprehensive collection of provincial and local sites on which you can search of official registration records, almost all are in Chinese exclusively. In addition, while electronic versions the records remain consistently reliable, those records may not reflect the most up-to-date snapshot of a company’s status. Official records remain in paper form and the reconciliation process between the official paper form and the digital form can occur on an irregular schedule across various offices.
As part of our due diligence and verification services, Nuna Network can help you source, compile, and interpret the registration and information you will need from the (current) AIC network and (subsequent) SAMR network once the consolidation is complete.