Get a Company Seal to do Business in China

Chinese company due diligence Seal or Chop

Just got a call from a United States client who is being told it needs a company seal to put on a document to be filed in China. Their question was whether the seal is “really” required.

We told them they had the following two choices:

1. Pay my law firm a lot of money to figure out whether Chinese law really mandates the company seal for the particular document at issue and also whether the government entity with whom the document will be filed really will require our client’s seal; or

2. Rush order a company seal online from Office Depot for maybe USD $50. “Is it really that easy? She asked. “Yes,” I answered.

Bottom Line: If you are going to be doing business in an emerging market country, make it easy on yourself and get your company seal now.

15 responses to “Get a Company Seal to do Business in China”

  1. This is absolutely true. If you want to do business with China, you better have your company seal ready. Company chop/seal is commonly required on numerous documents in China. Signatures are much less important and less used than company seals there.

  2. Why didn’t you write this a year ago? You would have saved my company a lot of pain and trouble. What you say is the case. Now that we went out and had our seal made (in China for about $5), we use it all the time.

  3. Seals vs. signatures is a great example of “diff’rent strokes for “diff’rent folks.” Both methods have their own weaknesses. Ultimately, it’s only good morals or fear of punishment that prevents normal people from forging signatures or misappropriating the company seal.

  4. Remember too that the person to whom you grant control of that seal now has the keys to your kingdom. Make sure it is someone that you can trust with your [economic] life!

  5. As far as I know, its only China, plus Hong Kong that regualrly use company seals in the way described. It doesn’t apply to India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Brasil, African countries or any other “emerging markets” as you suggest as far as I am aware. Its just a Chinese thing, when they sometimes assume all foreign investors have the same regulatory processes as China does, which is far from being the case. There’s no real need to purchase a USD50 company seal in the US for “doing business in emerging markets” or China for that matter. They are needed – and issued – and part of the adminsitration kit for actually having a company in China, but generally no need for US corporations to rush out and buy one thats a bit silly.

  6. Clarification please! If you are a foreign company doing business in China, do you need these seals? Or do you need them only if you are a running a WOFE?
    Thanks.

  7. You will need a chop if you run any sort of business in China. For any sort of corporate action, people in Mainland China/Hong Kong/Taiwan just don’t use hand written signatures.
    Part of the reason that chops are useful is that it makes it easier to decide “who has the power.” Rather than having to figure out whether a signature is valid or not, the person with the power is the person who has physical control over the chop.

  8. yes get two a normal one … colour of your choosing … and the the extra special extra big and extra red one for those documents that really matter – that and a warehouse full of bai jiu and you are set… China watch out!!

  9. The Company seal is a prerequiste for conducting business in China. Since that is what’s required simply comply and that would save you both time and money.

  10. Where can you rush order a seal from online? If you get a seal made by an unlicensed company then it’s invalid and considered fraud to use it when authenticating a document. Does anyone know of any reputable online seller than can make an official, licensed seal for my company?

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