Naming your foreign investment enterprise

By Kevin Xu, Martin Hu & Partners

When establishing an enterprise in the PRC, it is necessary to apply for a preliminary review of its name. The enterprise will enjoy the rights in its name from the date of its establishment. The main rules governing the names of enterprises are the Registration of Enterprise Names Administrative Provisions, the Registration and Administration of Enterprise Names Implementing Measures issued by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), and various local regulations. Understanding the rules is key for foreign investors choosing and protecting names for their enterprises.

Composition of names

The term “enterprise name” refers to an enterprise’s Chinese-language name, and has four parts: the administrative regional division, trade name, industry category and organizational form, in that order.

许江晖 Kevin Xu
Kevin Xu
Martin Hu & Partners

A foreign investment enterprise (FIE) may be exempted from the requirement to commence its name with the administrative regional division in which it is located, and certain FIEs may use the Chinese characters for “China” in their names. The trade name of an enterprise should be composed of two or more Chinese characters. Depending on local regulations, enterprises satisfying certain conditions may use special industry appellations such as “industry”, “development”, “exploitation”, “engineering”, “science and technology”, “environmental protection” and “equity investment”; particular words equivalent to “phase I”, “phase II”, “phase III”, “headquarters”, “regional headquarters”, etc.; or the generic name or abbreviation for an institute of higher learning or research institute.

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Kevin Xu is a partner at Martin Hu & Partners (MHP Law Firm)

19/F Yongda International Tower

2277 Longyang Road

Shanghai, China

Postal code: 201204

Fax: +86 21 5010 1222

Tel: +86 (21) 5010 1666*900