Sunday, March 25, 2007

Establishing A Representative Office In China

Establishing A Representative Office In China
by: Hal Lightning

Among foreign investors, the most popular form of business establishment in China is the Representative Office. Its main attraction is that it is simpler and cheaper to establish than either a Joint Venture of a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise – since no Registered Capital is required, startup costs are roughly 10% of the cost of establishing either of these. Representative Offices are also open to almost all industry sectors, including some sectors that are off-limits to Joint Ventures and Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises. Furthermore, the Chief Representative need not reside in China. However, Representative Offices are very limited in the activities that they may carry out.

Why do foreign companies establish Representative Offices in China?

1. To conduct preliminary research before deciding whether or not to make a direct investment in China.

2. To provide data and promotional materials to potential partners and/or clients.

3. To coordinate the activities of its parent company in China.

4. To make travel arrangements for representatives of its parent company or Chinese clients or potential clients.

5. A foreign company might already be doing business with China from overseas but lack the market penetration to justify a full-blown investment (some of these Representative Offices later upgrade to Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises, Cooperative Joint Ventures, and Equity Joint Ventures. Note that in certain industries such as insurance and finance there are sectors that require foreign investors to operate a Representative Office for at least 2 years before making a direct investment.

6. To hire local employees to help them find suppliers.

7. As a cheap and simple way of doing business in China by exceeding its legal scope of business. This is not a good idea because it is likely to get the company in trouble with the authorities.

8. To establish a presence in a business sector currently forbidden to direct foreign investment with a view to getting to know the market in anticipation that China will liberalize its regulations in the future in line with its WTO commitments.

Representative Offices are generally allowed to:

* lease office space and arrange for utilities
* purchase office supplies
* coordinate the issuance of work permits and visas for foreign employees
* open and maintain bank accounts in local currency and foreign exchange
* display office signs and distribute promotional materials
* hire local staff though labor service organizations (this requirement might be partially lifted if the draft Labor Contract Law goes into effect.

Taxation of Representative Offices

Although a Representative Office may not engage in profit-making activities and cannot receive income, it is still somehow subject to taxation under certain circumstances (usually on a deemed profit basis)

Two types of taxes are generally applicable to Representative Offices are Enterprise Income Tax and Business Tax. It may be subject to taxation, for example, when it acts as business liaison for a transaction that generates commissions. The Enterprise Income Tax rate applicable to Representative Offices is 33% (inclusive of a 3% local surcharge). Fortunately, however, the business activities of a Representative Office can be exempted under certain circumstances, although these exemptions vary from industry to industry.

Representative Offices are required to pay value added tax (VAT), consumption tax, and customs duties on any domestic purchases and/or imported equipment, as well as stamp duties (usually a negligible sum). The Representative Office need not pay property-related taxes for leased office space, so don’t let your landlord convince you otherwise.

Legal Status of a Representative Office

A Representative Office is not considered an independent legal entity but rather an extension of its parent company. Accordingly, the parent company must bear all of the Representative Office’s legal liabilities and debts. The foreign company should carefully safeguard the Representative Office’s financial and corporate seals to ensure that they are not misused.

The authority of the Chief Representative is governed not by Chinese foreign investment law, but rather by the foreign parent company’s jurisdiction of incorporation. However, the parent company is still subject to the jurisdiction of the local Chinese courts with respect to all contractual issues, including property rights.

Establishment Procedures

Only one Representative Office may be established in each Chinese city. Set-up is accomplished in 4 steps:

1. Pre-approval Procedure - The foreign parent company must first locate a Chinese sponsor to help it obtain the required approval and registration. This can usually be done with the help of the local Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) office, which will introduce the foreign parent company to a designated agent (a Foreign Enterprise Service Company, a/k/a FESCO) that is licensed by MOFCOM to handle foreign Representative Office applications. The sponsor will charge a fee of approximately US$800 - $1,000 for notifying the foreign company of upcoming deadlines and any problems with the application materials. The foreign company will also be required to enter into a lease for ‘Grade A’ office space prior to approval, because a signed lease agreement is one of the prerequisites for approval of the Representative Office.

2. Application – The Representative Office application and supporting documents should be submitted to the appropriate examination and approval authority. The examination and approval authority for a Representative Office will normally be MOFCOM, but foreign companies in certain industries such as banking, insurance, law, accounting and media will need to apply to the authority with jurisdiction over the foreign company’s particular industry. If the application is approved, a Certificate of Approval will be issued by the examination and approval authority, usually for an extendable initial term of 3 years.

3. Registration – Registration must be completed within 30 days after the certificate of approval is issued. An application (together with supporting documents; see this site’s section on “Documentation” under “Rep Offices” for details) is submitted to the local branch of the State Administration of Industry & Commerce (SAIC). This process normally takes 1-2 months and concludes with the issuance of a Certificate of Registration (similar to a business license), which must be renewed annually. Any subsequent change must be registered with the local SAIC.

4. Post-Registration Procedures – The new Representative Office is expected to register its location with the local Public Security Bureau (the police), make financial and corporate seals, open a foreign exchange bank account, register with the local and national tax bureaus, complete customs registration (in order to import office equipment and daily necessities for its staff), and register with a FESCO to recruit Chinese staff. The Chief Representative should apply for and receive a Residence Permit from the Public Security Bureau with jurisdiction over his/her residence (see this site’s section on “Foreign Staff” under “Labor” for further detail)..

Only after completing the foregoing procedures may a Representative Office begin operations. Registration must precede even preliminary activities such as distributing business cards, establishing direct telecommunications lines, and obtaining a multiple entry visa or an apartment for the Chief Representative (the latter requires the Chief Representative’s Residence Permit).

Closing Down a Representative Office – This can be a lengthy process if it is not handled correctly. This is especially so if the office was not originally established entirely in accordance with Chinese foreign investment law but rather through back-door connections (a common occurrence among China’s more experienced foreign investors). China’s legal system is becoming more and more transparent and administrative bodies are increasingly actually enforcing the law, so it’s a good idea to do things the right way the first time. There are several steps required to close down an office – don’t just walk away, especially if you have (or think you might have) long-term plans in the China market.

First, various documents need to be prepared and provided to the relevant authorities. A cancellation form needs to be submitted to the Industrial & Commercial Bureau, and a detailed explanation needs to be provided as to why the office is closing. Application must also be made to the local Commission of Foreign Trade & Economic Cooperation (COFTEC). Both the Representative Office manager and the general manage of the parent company must sign the form. A separate application also needs to be made on parent company letterhead and stamped with its company seal. There must also be a board resolution that agrees to the closure of the office (a statement indicating that the office is to be closed signed by the chairman of the board of the parent company is sometimes accepted).

Further, the bank must provide a notice that confirms cancellation of the Representative Office’s bank account. Tax payment certificates and receipts from national and local tax bureaus must also be furnished to the Representative Office’s original examination and approval authority along with a brief statement about the settlement of debits and credits. The tax bureau will require the closure audit report to be approved by a certified public accounting firm. The corporate seal, financial seal, and the business license must be surrendered to the Industrial & Commercial Bureau. If all the necessary documents are provided and taxes have been paid, the closure procedure should take roughly 2 weeks.

About The Author
David Carnes is licensed to practice law in California. He speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese and has several years experience working with Chinese law firms and Sino-American joint ventures. Check out his website, China Legal Bulletin, at

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Intellectual Property Protection In China

Intellectual Property Protection In China
by: David Carnes

If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then the Chinese can be very sincere flatterers indeed. But if you prefer prosperity over flattery it would be wise to take precautions against losing your shirt (or at least the rights to it) in one of the world’s most dangerous IP jungles. It isn’t that the legal regime is deficient – it’s enforcement that’s lacking. For the present at least, China is a net importer of intellectual property. A relatively lawless IP environment is advantageous to China’s short-term interests, just as a strictly enforced IP environment suits the interests of net IP exporters such as the United States. This issue has been constant irritant in relations between China and Western nations, as well as Japan. Nevertheless, China’s enforcement of intellectual property has steadily improved in recent years.

Protecting intellectual property (IP) in China requires a multi-pronged strategy including registration, workplace security, employee contracts, commercial contracts and enforcement.


China’s IP registration regimes are more or less consistent with international standards.

Trademarks - are protected on a first-to-file basis, with an exception for well-known trademarks. Do not rely on the “well-known” exception, however (unless you are Coca-Cola), because whether a particular trademark is “well-known” or not is a time-consuming argument that keeps IP lawyers in business all over the world. If a trademark uses words, the Chinese language equivalent should also be registered.

China has adopted the international Classification of Goods and Services under the Nice Agreement, and has also adopted the international registration regime under the Madrid system.

FIE Business Names – must be in Chinese and registered with the local Administration of Industry and Commerce before an application to set up a Foreign Invested Enterprise can be submitted (see this site’s Company Startup Guide for details on company name registration). Since China does not have a national register of business names, registrations are valid only within a particular locality (and an FIE business name cannot be registered in any location except its location of establishment). Trademark registrations offer better protection in this respect.

Patents & Designs - are protected on a first-to-file basis. China is a member of the Paris Convention, so filings in a member country within applicable time limits can also gain priority in China. More ominously, compulsory licenses may be granted (i) to qualified enterprises if the owner of the patent fails to license the patent on reasonable terms, and (ii) in the event of a national emergency. Because of this, many foreign companies do not register patents for sensitive technology in China. See Technology Transfers and Licensing for related information.

Copyrights - Copyrighted material may be registered with the China National Copyright Administration. As in the United States, copyrights are not granted on a first-to-file basis. Registration does serves as useful evidence of ownership of a copyrighted work, but it is not a legal precondition to enforcement.

Software – is considered copyrighted material and may be registered with the China National Copyright Administration. Registration requires the filing of source code (with some code blacked out). As a consequence, many foreign companies refuse to register their software in China.

Domain Names - are protected on a “first-to-file” basis. A foreign company must have an FIE or Representative Office in order to register a “.cn” domain name in China.

Workplace Security

It is strongly advised to create a “plumbing” system to control IP leakage in the workplace.

IT systems and any hard copies of IP should be kept in an access-restricted, secure location.

Confidential information should be distributed on a strict “need to know” basis.

Confidential material should be marked “Confidential Information” in Chinese in anticipation of possible litigation in Chinese courts.


Independently investigate the reputation and trustworthiness of applicants for sensitive positions during the recruitment process.

Labor contracts should be prepared carefully. You should consider including the following in all labor contracts:

Confidentiality obligations

Non-compete clauses - Post-termination non-competition clauses should be limited to a reasonable geographic area and time limit. Compensation is also required to be paid during the period of non-competition.

Assignment – Although China recognizes the work-for-hire principle, the labor contract should clearly assign ownership of intellectual property created in the course of employment; otherwise IP rights may prove practically impossible to enforce against an employee who creates an IP-related work for hire.

Product Selection

Despite the additional tax breaks and incentives available, think carefully before manufacturing products that require new and sensitive technology in China. Components requiring new and sensitive technology may be imported into China in a secure manner for integration with the rest of the product.

Commercial Contracts

Since many commercial arrangements, even sourcing materials and components, can necessitate an exchange of intellectual property, adequate protections should be included in the contracts and associated documentation.

Administrative Enforcement Action

Various government organs have the power to take administrative action against IP infringers:

National Copyright Administration - The NCA is the “big gun” of the Chinese IP enforcement arsenal and is endowed with broad enforcement powers. They may order cessation of the infringing activities, confiscate illegal income, confiscate and destroy illegal copies, and impose fines.

State Administration of Industry and Commerce - The SAIC and its local AICs have a reputation for efficient trademark enforcement action, including investigations and raids. The SAIC also handles disputes regarding business names, registered trademarks, trade secrets, and passing off activities.

Customs - may confiscate products that infringe trademarks, copyrights and patents.

China Patent Office - may help with patent enforcement through investigation, mediation and raids.

General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine - may get involved if product quality and health issues are at issue.

Administrative enforcement is a relatively inexpensive and efficient alternative to litigation, and it is easier to win a conviction.


If administrative action fails to bring the desired result, litigation may have to be resorted to. Chinese courts can issue injunctions and award damages, although in practice their enforcement powers are typically weaker than in Western nations.

Criminal Prosecution

Criminal liability, including imprisonment, can be imposed for IP violations, although successful prosecutions are rare. Financial thresholds that must be met before criminal liability can be assessed can be difficult to prove. These thresholds include:

RMB50,000 turnover for knowingly selling goods with counterfeit registered trademarks

RMB50,000 turnover or RMB30,000 profits if trademarks are applied to goods without authorization

International Enforcement

Products that infringe intellectual property rights can be interdicted by customs at the destination port. It is also possible to seize the overseas assets of infringers located in China.

Technology Transfers and Licensing

Foreign investors often license technology and intellectual property such as trademarks, patents, copyrighted material and trademarks to the FIEs they invest in. A foreign party may also license technology to unaffiliated Chinese companies, such as in manufacturing or management contracts. Unlike joint venture contracts, licensing contracts can be governed by foreign law.

Proper licensing will help the foreign party control its technology and secure the payment of royalties (registration is required for the latter). Only the brave, however, will dare to license sensitive technology to an entity which the foreign party does not control.

Technology transfers are understandably less common than licensing and are usually used as part of the foreign investor’s contribution of technology to a Foreign Invested Enterprise as Registered Capital.

Technology Restrictions

Chinese foreign trade law recognizes three categories of technology: Permitted, Restricted, and Prohibited. These are contained in a catalogue that lists specific technologies.

Permitted technology is simply technology which has not been classified as Restricted or Prohibited.

Restricted technology may not be imported without a license, and is generally related to the chemical, petrochemical, biochemical, biological, and petroleum refining industries.

Prohibited Technology is technology that is considered to endanger national security, the public interest, or public morals by placing people’s lives or health at risk or destroying the environment.


A license for restricted technology must be approved by and registered with the Commission of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (COFTEC). COFTEC will adjudicate a license application within 30 days. Licensing contracts for Restricted technology are effective only after COFTEC issues the corresponding Technology Import License.

Prohibited technology may not be brought into China.

Certain types of Permitted technology, while not subject to licensing requirements, are still subject to filing with COFTEC.

Technology transfers relating to certain major projects must be registered with and approved by the Ministry of Commerce. Trademark licenses must be filed with the China Trademark Office within three months of execution in order to remit royalties out of China. Foreign trademarks must be recorded at the China Trademark Office in order to remit royalties out of China. Trademark recordation takes about a year and a half.


A foreign company may not prohibit a licensee from improving the licensed Technology, and these improvements become the property of the improver.

Technology as FIE Capital Contributions

Technology may be contributed as part of an FIE’s Registered Capital; however, the FIE will then become the owner of the technology and the foreign contributor will have to license the technology from the FIE if it wants to use it.

Technology contributed as capital is required to be appraised upon importation and should also be appraised by the Ministry of Commerce or the relevant local COFTEC as soon as the FIE is approved.

Since the Company Law requires 30% of the Registered Capital of an FIE to be contributed in currency (20% of the initial installment of Registered Capital), it follows that alternative forms of contribution, including technology, cannot total more than 70% and 80%, respectively.

About The Author
David Carnes is licensed to practice law in California. He speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese and has several years experience working with Chinese law firms and Sino-American joint ventures. His website, China Legal Bulletin, is at

Friday, March 23, 2007

China on the Go! Let’s Take A Tour To Beijing

China on the Go! Let’s Take A Tour To Beijing
by: Lola Adewoyin

So you have decided to take a tour to China? As China brags of many cities and towns filled with history of ancient civilizations, you probably would be wondering where to go in China. Well, it should not be a very hard decision to make; Beijing should definitely be the first stop over on a planned tour in China.

Beijing, one of the first attractions and most exciting places to visit is located in the North of China. It is the country’s capital which demonstrates most of the country’s cultural heritage. The natives are preparing the beautiful city in anticipation for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. So, the upcoming years will be a perfect time to take a tour to Beijing. Beijing is the home of history in China. It has always represented the place of three important Chinese dynasties over the past 1000 years. Peking duck is one of the most famous dishes in Beijing which many tourists enjoy having as a special cuisine.

A typical tour in Beijing comprises of places like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Ming Tombs as well as the Lama Temple. There are lots of hotels around these cities due to the large number of tourists who visit China. The Beijing Grand Hotel is completely decorated in Chinese style with rooms well furnished with Chinese calligraphies and paintings. As a tourist, you feel more at ease and welcomed into the Chinese culture.

The Forbidden City boasts of the world’s largest public square which is the Tiananmen Square. The Tiananmen Square is synonymously linked to the Chinese cultural revolutions where thousands of Chinese supporters crowded the square during Mao’s reign.

Not forgetting the Summer Palace, a major tourist destination spot located on the outskirts of Beijing, although, much of it is covered by the Kunming Lake. This palace completely demonstrates Chinese architecture, history and garden design. Taking a tour to the Summer Palace, you will see the Long Corridor of the lake which runs for about 2500 feet and ends at the marble boat.

One of China’s ost cherished and greatest treasures is the Great Wall which makes the people proud of. This wall was built over 2 millennia by the old Chinese dynasties. It started in 221 BC and was continuously built until the 17th century. The Great Wall of China stretches from almost the center of Asia to the East China Sea. Visiting a part of the Great Wall is a must for any tourist who tours China as it is truly one of the great wonders of the ancient world.

Don’t get too tired as the Ming Tombs is still one of the nicest places to visit in Beijing. These tombs represent the burial grounds of some of the 16 Ming dynasty emperors of China. It has a 7km quiet walkway known as the Spirit Way which leads to the tombs.

As a tourist in Beijing, there’s still so much to see and even after taking a tour in Beijing, places to tour in China includes Tibet, Huangshan commonly known as the Yellow Mountains, Shanghai, Xian and many of the traditional local places. A short tour in China will not be enough to tour all these places, but the experience and adventure would definitely be worth it.

For comments and inquiries about the article visit Passport to China.

About The Author
Lola Adewoyin writes for Passport to China. An inbound tour operating company serving as your gateway to Passport to China.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Top 5 Myths About China

Top 5 Myths About China
by: Rosalyn Pan

Over 20 percent of the world's population are Chinese, and by economic standards, China's ascent is only just beginning. The Chinese nation, culture, economy, and language are going to get more and more important in the world during your lifetime.

But how much do you currently know about modern China?

What you learned at school about China, and what you read in the newspapers or see on the TV news may not be true any more.

Have a look at the following generalisations about China and see if you ever heard or believed something similar. Can you open your mind and change your preconceptions about China?

Misconception 1.

*China is an ancient culture*

What? Of course Chinese culture is ancient! One of the world's oldest actually. Yes, but what's modern China all about? China nowadays is a vibrant modern society, with unique pop culture, fashions, arts, tastes, and habits. Chinese people are proud of their heritage, and there is always an awareness of "old China" inside people's habits and tastes. But the real China of today is a fast-moving modern place: the old continues to give way to the new, and and Chinese people are all looking to their future, not resting on the laurels of the past.

Misconception 2.

*China is backward and poor*

By 2050 it's estimated that 50% of China's population will live in the cities, and this is where the focus of national policy is at the moment. Chinese cities are being built up at an astounding rate: every city in China is currently a dazzling scene of infrastructure change - new roads and flyovers, new skyscrapers, new stadiums, new hotels and resorts, and of course new massive ostentatious government buildings. The word "developing" has come to have connotations of 'third world', but in the developing cities of China you can only marvel at the pace of improvement all around.

If you travel to the countryside in China, you certainly might have the impression of a 'developing nation': people are still farming the land using pre-industrial-revolution tools and techniques, and people's lifestyles certainly couldn't be described as cosmopolitan. However, what you may not see is that these people's children may well be smart professionals in the city, sending home ever increasing paychecks to their family. Chinese people are ultimately loyal to their parents, and will routinely save and send home large proportions of their salaries. Even if the youth who move to the Chinese cities aren't managers or entrepreneurs, city salaries for even basic jobs are enough in comparative terms to make everyone happy. Everywhere you go in the Chinese countryside, you can see previously lowly families buying cars and building new houses. So the wealth of the cities will filter to rural areas through private channels, regardless of the urban-focused investment policies !

of the government.

Misconception 3.

*Chinese people eat Chinese food.*

Yes, of course Chinese people eat Chinese food! But do you even know what Chinese food is?

Forget what you think you know from your local "Chinese" takeaway. Unless you've spent several years living in mainland China, it's unlikely you have even a clue about Chinese cuisine. The variety is mind-boggling and almost certainly unrivalled in any other country. Expatriates in China will all tell you that every day they are still trying new dishes, even after living there for years. (And since we're on the topic of mythbusting, sorry to be politically incorrect, but actually you can find dog meat restaurants everywhere in southern China and people really enjoy eating it in the winter. On the other hand, in case you are getting a bit worried now, dog is a pricey speciality so it's impossible that you will ever receive a meat dish which is dog meat unless you explicitly ordered it!!)

Modern Chinese people in the cities also eat pizza, burgers, spaghetti, sandwiches, chocolate, and all sorts of real international cuisines, not only junk food. Visitors to China who can't use chopsticks, or have a phobia of rice, will have absolutely no problem feeding themselves! (But if you visit China, please be a little more imaginative than to go straight to one of the hundreds of Starbucks springing up in every city.)

Misconception 4.

*China is a communist country.*

Politically, China is still a one-party state and the Chinese people do not elect their leaders. How much does this matter? For a start, China was never the same style of 'communist' government that we associate with Soviet Russia. And the days of Mao are loooong gone!

Government in China nowadays is actually much less centralised than in most other countries, with an amazing amount of power in the hands of provincial or city-level governing bodies. These local governments are increasingly competing with each other to improve and enrich their domains, and the effect is a lot more positive than controversy-hunting western journalists' usual portrayals.

Are the Chinese people oppressed? Hardly! Chinese society is, any observer would be forced to admit, remarkably free and progressive. In point of fact, most Chinese people couldn't be described as particularly agitated about "freedom" or political change, being more concerned about getting a piece of the GDP pie and improving their lives and their children's lives. The political sentiment which most Chinese people share is a desire for stability, safety, and prosperity - and basically anyone would have to admit the government in Beijing is currently doing a really good job at that regardless of any abstract criticisms of their "communist" political identity.

Economically, what is China? People always laugh at the phrase "capitalism with Chinese characteristics" but it's true it's hard to find any description or comparative model for the Chinese system these days. In many ways the Chinese are more capitalist at the moment than anyone else, perhaps because the system has lagged behind in regulating and taxing the explosion of private commerce in the last twenty years. The name "The Wild East" has a certain truth about it at the moment, but things are getting more standardised, the RMB (Chinese Yuan - the currency) is now open to trading, and of course China is in the WTO now. Expect the China pages of your newspaper to get ever more prominent as businesses and governments wake up more to the economic power of the Chinese market.

Misconception 5.

*China is closed and difficult to visit.*

Anyone from almost any country in the world can easily obtain a Chinese travel visa from a travel agent and book a flight to any of China's growing list of international airports. Once in China you can go and stay where you want. It's just as easy as visiting any other country. The only reason your travel agency isn't packed with brochures about visiting China is because those travel companies just don't get it yet... Don't worry - the travel agency will soon wake up!

"Yes, but Chinese people don't speak English!" Pssst - can you think of any other popular world travel destinations where the local people, maybe, possibly don't speak English as their first language? Seriously, in the cities a lot of people can help out clueless travellers, and even if you're trying to be independent or adventurous, you'll find Chinese people friendly, tolerant, and generally not scary at all.

In terms of other traveller fears about safety, security, and cleanliness, China is already in the top tier of countries in the world to live in or travel to. Frequent travellers to China will back this up: even in the inner cities of China, you can walk around as a highly visible foreigner, and although you may be stared at, you will never feel in any danger or discomfort. (Unless you expected a 'normal' western style toilet - oh dear! - but that's an experience you'll have to find out by visiting China yourself!)


Wake up and smell the tea! You need to visit China and experience it yourself: there is no way you will break through the misconceptions and prejudices about China from your armchair.

About The Author
Rosalyn Pan

Just a little bit interested in visiting China? To learn about Chinese visas and invitation letters to visit China on business, visit China Invitation Letter

Read more informative articles about modern China and Chinese culture here:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What You Need To Know About China Adoption

What You Need To Know About China Adoption
by: Jeanette Pollock

We all know about China's population problem. Most of us are horrified at the Chinese one-child policy.

China, in 1979, implemented the policy restricting the number of children a family can have to just one child.

Unfortunately, a lot of controversies have stemmed from this policy. The Chinese people have been accused of doing everything from abortions to cannibalism in the wake of this government policy.

Also stemming from this policy is the ever-increasing incident of parents abandoning young daughters.

In China, sons are more valued, as tradition holds sons as the heirs of a bloodline.

However, you should know that the one-child-policy is no longer enforced in some places. This does not significantly affect, however, the number of daughters abandoned each year.

One solution the Chinese government has developed is the china adoption program.

While most countries would be difficult to deal with in cases of international adoption, the China adoption program has made a very clear-cut and easy to follow roads in these international adoption cases.

The government has specifically formed different agencies in order to help out with the China adoption program.

Some other countries have opened such similar adoption programs only to shut them down because of some problems. However, the China adoption program has been continually operating ever since 1996.

In China adoptions, there are some requirements that potential parents must fulfill in order to be considered eligible.

First of all, China adoptions work with parents at least 30 years and not more than 60 years old at the time of the adoption.

Parents who are 45-50 years old can adopt children who are 1-3 years old, while children 4 years or older may be adopted by couples 51-55 years of age.

You also need a basic income of 10 thousand dollars annually plus an additional annual income of 10 thousand dollars for every person in the family, including the child.

China adoptions also require that the couple be married for at least six months and have lived together.

If you already have 4 children, you will need to contact a China adoption services agency in order to determine whether or not you will be allowed to adopt yet another child.

If you have already adopted a child from China, you would have to wait a year before you can be considered eligible for another adoption.

If you have a birthed child, though, you will have to wait until he/she is six months old until you can submit an application for China adoptions.

If the parent is single, China adoptions usually work with single women 30 years of age.

If you are, in fact, single, you need to be certified a heterosexual. If you are living with a housemate, you need to complete a home study that describes your relationship with the housemate in detail.

You need to certify that the housemate is heterosexual. China adoptions also require that the housemate present different documents such as a medical examination and police clearance.

The China adoption program, of course, depends upon the number of children available. You need to contact an agency in order to make your China adoption a bit easier.

The china adoption agency can make things easier for you by becoming your contact to the China adoption program. There's some travel required in China adoptions, and a agencies can help you maximize your usage of that time.

About The Author
Jeanette Pollock is a freelance author and website owner of Just Adoption Tips. Visit Jeanette's site to learn more about china adoption.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Travel China - Beautiful Lijiang

Travel China - Beautiful Lijiang
by: Chris Chew

Lijiang is an and quaint town in Yunan, a province of China which is well endowed with magnificent and beautiful mountains, rivers and a long history. The ancient Lijiang county was put into the list of world cultural legacy by the World Legacy Committee of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization in 1997.

The city of Lijiang has a history of 800 years or 900 years dating from the Sung Dynasty. Why is Lijiang one of the most beautiful city in the world? Firstly, it is one of the very few city which is over a mile high above sea level. Smacked in the middle of the Lijiangba Dam, surrounded by snowcapped mountains and a river that runs through an oriental forest with small streams meandering into the town. Some tourists even called the town "Heaven On Earth".

Lijiang experienced an earth shattering 7 on the Richter scale earthquake on February 1996 which killed more than 5,000 people mainly the Naxi community being the major community in Lijiang. Since then, Lijiang caught the attention of the world and tourism growth was unprecedented. As such, Lijiang is now one of the most favoured tourist travel destination in China.

Most residents in Lijiang are of the Naxi tribe. The Naxi community makes a living by herding yaks and doing small retail businesses. The construction of the ancient Lijiang city was quickly developed in the Ming Dynasty. This is especially so because the Ming Dynasty made a large number of people in Anhui Province to migrate into Lijiang in order to station military troops and common people in the boundary areas.

As a result of this mass migration, the buildings of Lijiang ancient city were very much influenced by the architectural style of Anhui Province. The original buildings of the Naxi community can only be found in the rural areas surrounding Lijiang City.

The Yuan dynasty and the Mongol Emperor then, Kublai Khan stationed military troops in Lijiang in 1253. He brought the foreign culture alien to Lijiang and thus Lijiang was then influenced by the culture Central China, such as Buddhism and Taoism, and then affected by the Christianity and Islamic culture in the early 1900s. The Naxi community assimilated all these cultures. As such, Lijiang is also very much appreciated for its cultural landscape not only in China, but the entire Asia.

Millions of tourists travel to Lijiang each year to enjoy Lijiang's primitive simplicity, tranquility and elegant culture.The folks at Lijiang enjoy music too. You can hear the beautiful music from the dwelling houses in Dayanzhen Town. The musicians carry their often home made musical instruments to take part in household parties all over the town.

The Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang is perhaps one the most beautiful mountain range in the world, famous for its perilous, beautiful and breathtaking landscapes. The mountain is a world class tourist scenic spot. The peak of the Jade Dragon Mountain is some 5596 meters (about 17,000 ft) above sea level. The mountain's thirteen peaks viewed from south to north look just like a flying giant Chinese dragon. A very formidable view indeed.

So if you are travelling to China, don't miss the quaint city of Lijiang.

About The Author
Chris Chew is a travel fanatic. Read more travel destinations at his sites and

Friday, March 16, 2007

Exporting American Lawyers To China

Exporting American Lawyers To China
by: David Carnes

A few decades ago there was hardly any such field as international law - only domestic law representing clients with funny sounding names. Although that situation has changed, the globe is not yet as borderless as the media would have us believe it is. Nevertheless, US lawyers are heading to China in increasing numbers to practice “cutting edge” foreign investment law, and many of these adventurers are fresh out of law school. Conventional wisdom has it that heading overseas straight out of law school will ruin your career back home should you ever want to relocate stateside.

I beg to differ. I know of a young man who graduated from law school in the mid-nineties with a high GPA, fluency in Mandarin Chinese, and experience as a Summer Associate in the Beijing office of a major international law firm. He had caught the “Asia bug” and returned so fast that his diploma had to be mailed to him across the Pacific. Around the turn of the millennium he returned to the US to test out the theory that “you can’t go home again”. With only a few months of effort he was able to land a premium position as a delivery driver for Pizza Hut, making a full dollar an hour above minimum wage (plus tips!).

Let’s get serious. Before you take a leap across the Pacific, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this question: “Am I an ‘international Lawyer’, or am I an ‘International lawyer’?” (note the differences in capitalization). What’s Plan B in case practicing law in China falls through? Will you be practicing law in the United States, or will you be teaching English in China? What excites you about China law - China, or law?

Because when all is said and done, an office is an office whether it’s in Beijing, New York, or London. And like it or not, the inside of an office is where the average lawyer spends most of his/her waking hours. Likewise, legal work is legal work; there’s not any exciting difference between systems of business law whether you’re consulting with clients and drafting documents in Mandarin Chinese, English, or Serbo-Croatian.

Then there's the Prestige Factor. It’s very stylish these days for medium and large sized law firms to prattle on and on about “our China Office” - and what's more, a China office allows for the issuance of impressive-looking bilingual business cards. It’s become such a potent status symbol that many firms (I strongly suspect) are holding on to money-losing offices in China just so they can keep Beijing on the list of cities where their firm has offices. Medium sized law firms in particular like to set up China offices to prove to their clients their status as Big Time International Players – sort of like the teenager who won’t shave off his peach fuzz because it “proves I’m a man”.

Better to forget about the prestige factor involved in practicing international law overseas. Holding a prestigious job is like marrying a fashion model – it’s cool at first, but hey, law is a jealous mistress - after a couple of months the magic wears off and you’re going to have to live with her day after day, for better or for worse.

Anyway, “our China Office” really means “our China Rep Office”. Keep in mind that in China, representative offices may not engage in profit-generating activities. So how do US law firms get away with it? To be sure, a few of them are mostly engaged in the Western legal side of sophisticated cross-border transactions (and thus not generally in the market for new graduates), but the rest are practicing Chinese law illegally. They get away with this in Beijing and Hong Kong (not so often in Shanghai) because the Chinese authorities turn their heads, ignoring the wounded howls of jilted (and well-qualified) Chinese lawyers. The reality is that many foreign investors still feel more comfortable retaining US lawyers even though top Chinese lawyers are far better able to understand legal and linguistic nuances that American lawyers are likely to overlook.

In other words, US lawyers are tolerated by the Chinese authorities because they help attract foreign investment. When the English language ability of Chinese lawyers improves enough to inspire greater confidence among foreign investors, the Chinese government may start rolling up the welcome mat under the feet of American lawyers. And it won’t even take a new law to throw them out – only enforcement of existing law. Imagine the spectacle of former China investment lawyers returning to the US wearing sandwich boards reading “Will Litigate for Food”. Don’t get caught in mid-career all dressed up with no place to go.

The god news is, there is a loophole: China allows legal advisors who are not admitted to the local bar association to work in certain jobs that would require bar membership in the US. Included among such positions is corporate counsel – at their best, 9 to 5 jobs that come with six-figure incomes. In case six figures isn’t enough for you, these positions often provide opportunities for greater wealth as the company grows – stock options, for example.

Forget the international law firms doing the big sexy deals. If you are dead-set on China law, then grind out 2-4 years of business law experience in the US, and look for a job in the legal department of the China office of a Western multinational.

About The Author
David A. Carnes is a California attorney currently working as a legal advisor for California Industrial City (Zhengzhou) Development Co., Ltd. in Zhengzhou, China. His website is China Company Startup Guide.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Investing In China: Hiring, Firing And Labor Law

Investing In China: Hiring, Firing And Labor Law
by: David Carnes

One of China’s major attractions for foreign investors is its low labor costs. In the central provinces entry-level laborers can be hired for as little at US$60 per month and college graduates work for as little as US$150 per month, although labor costs in the more affluent coastal provinces are about three times as high. Furthermore, because there is a shortage of skilled labor and white collar management in the coastal provinces, additional incentives might be required to attract highly qualified employees (this is not so much of a problem in the central and western provinces). Employers can be recruited and hired directly in most cases, although there are many public and private employment agencies that will assist the foreign investor in recruiting qualified staff. In joint ventures, the Chinese partner is usually responsible for recruitment, although this is something that can be negotiated between the parties.

Employment law in China is in some ways more protective of employees than US labor law. Labor matters in China are generally governed by the P.R.C. Employment Law (although certain other national legislation also provides guidance). Where national law is silent, provincial and local laws apply, but in the event of a conflict between provincial/local laws and the Employment Law, the Employment Law prevails, much in the way as federal law trumps state law in the US.

Employment contracts are generally required and normally stipulate probation periods of no more than six months. A thirty-day advance notice and good cause are normally required in order to fire an employee after the expiration of the probation period (although employee incompetence and company business reverses considered good cause subject to certain restrictions). An employee can be immediately fired for serious misconduct.

The eight-hour workday and the forty-hour workweek are standard for blue collar employees, overtime pay is mandated by law, and there are legal limitations on how much overtime can be required. Paid leave is also required, although the required length varies according to local regulations (usually not exceeding two weeks per year). There are special protections on the type of labor that can be assigned to women and teenagers, and the minimum working age is 16. None of this should be unfamiliar to those familiar with prevailing US labor practices.

Nevertheless, Chinese labor law does include certain unique features that foreign investors should be aware of:

(1) In the event of a labor dispute, arbitration is required before the case can be taken to court.

(2) There are three funds to which both employer and employee must contribute:

1. Endowment Insurance (a kind of social welfare fund) – the employee contributes 5% of his salary, employer pays an amount equal to about one-fourth of the employee’s salary (amounts vary by locality).

2. Unemployment Insurance – the employee pays 1.0%, employer pays 2.0%.

3. Hospitalization Insurance – Employee pays 2.0%, employer pays 8.0 %.

In each of the foregoing cases, the employer deducts the employee portion from the employee’s paycheck, but must pay the employer’s portion out of its own pocket in addition to the employee’s regular wages. Also keep in mind that the foregoing amounts may vary somewhat according to locality. There are also certain funds that employers must contribute to, such as an employee labor union fund (generally about 2% of payroll).

A prospective foreign investor would do well to keep abreast of breaking developments in this area, because the law is rapidly evolving.

About The Author
David A. Carnes is a California attorney currently working as a legal advisor for California Industrial City (Zhengzhou) Development Co., Ltd. in Zhengzhou, China. His website is China Company Startup Guide.