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China revises regulation on business name registration
Updated: 2021-01-25

A revised regulation on registering business names will come into effect starting March 1, according to a State Council decree, signed by Premier Li Keqiang and issued on Jan 19.

The new regulation is aimed at standardizing business name registration, protecting the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises, maintaining social and economic order, and improving the business environment.

Administrations for market regulation above county level will serve as registration authorities responsible for registering the name of enterprises established in China.

Provincial-level administrations for market regulation should build an application system and database for business names within each local administrative region and make them open to the public.

Registration authorities should enhance standardization of management to offer enterprises and people more efficient and convenient services.

The regulation clarifies the "one name for one business" principle and promises legal protection for each business name.

Business names should consist of standard Chinese characters, and in ethnic autonomous areas, ethnic characters can be used.

The regulation requires that sector and operational characteristics be identified according to a company's primary business and industrial classification standards for national economic activities.

Business names are not allowed if they hurt the country's dignity or interests, are against social and public interests or order, contain content suggesting discrimination based on ethnic group, race, religion and gender, violate good morals or might have other adverse impacts, and are likely to deceive the public or cause misunderstanding.

Names containing Chinese words such as "China" and "National" are subject to stringent review as stipulated, as well as approval from the State Council.

As part of an application process required by the regulation, the applicant may submit related information and materials through the online business name application system or to a registration authority.

Such information and materials should be true, accurate and complete, and the applicant should promise to assume legal liability for infringing others' legitimate rights and interests due to similarities between business names.

When transferring or licensing a party to use its name, an enterprise should disclose information to the public via the national enterprise credit information publicity system.

A registration authority should refuse to register a business name that does not comply with the new regulation and give reasons in writing, and promptly correct registered names found noncompliant.

The regulation also stresses legality and honesty in using business names, discouraging unfair competition practices implemented by taking advantage of them.

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