25 Things A Comprehensive Legal Background Check of a Supplier in China Should Include


The global commercial landscape necessitates proactive risk management strategies, particularly when expanding supply chains into international territories like China. An essential precursor to this is the understanding of local legal and regulatory structures. Conducting legal background checks and comprehensive due diligence on potential suppliers helps mitigate risks and authenticate potential business partnerships. This article delves into the critical importance of such measures for suppliers in China, spotlighting intellectual property protection and the necessity of identifying Chinese legal entities correctly.


Legal Background Checks and Comprehensive Due Diligence: Business Safeguards

Legal background checks and comprehensive due diligence yield crucial insights into a supplier’s legal standing, financial viability, and overall credibility. These processes allow businesses to confirm the supplier’s authenticity and forestall potential unethical or fraudulent practices.

In the unique Chinese regulatory environment, these processes serve as protective measures, mitigating potential legal, financial, and reputational risks and ensuring regulatory compliance, intellectual property protection, and financial stability.


Components of a Comprehensive Background Investigation of a Chinese Supplier

A thorough due diligence report on potential Chinese suppliers should encompass the following elements:


1. General Information of the Target Company

This includes essential details such as the company’s name, legal representative, and registration number. The Chinese names are especially important because businesses in China are officially registered under their Chinese names. This information forms the foundational understanding of the company.


2. Legal Status of the Target Company

The legal status verification process involves confirming the supplier’s status using resources such as the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System (NECIPS) in China. This process helps ascertain the company’s legal standing and its operational permission within the jurisdiction.


3. Credibility of the Target Company 

The credibility of a company is gauged through its past activities and reputation in the market. Checking financial records, evaluating creditworthiness, and identifying any past bankruptcy or insolvency issues form an integral part of this process.


4. Ownership Structure and Information of the Shareholders

Understanding the ownership structure and obtaining detailed shareholder information provides insights into the company’s financial backing and stability. This analysis can reveal any potential conflicts of interest or financial risks.


5. Subsidiaries of the Company

Information about the company’s subsidiaries helps ascertain the overall business structure and reach. It provides insights into the company’s diversified interests and risks associated with them.


6. Business and Main Products of the Company

An overview of the company’s business operations and its main products is important to evaluate compatibility with your own business needs and quality standards. This understanding also aids in assessing the supplier’s capacity to fulfill your demands consistently.


7. Qualifications

Verification of the company’s qualifications, certifications, and licenses relevant to its industry is crucial. This process confirms their adherence to industry standards and quality assurance processes.


8. The Company’s Register File

Analyzing the company’s registration documents provides crucial legal insights and helps in validating the company’s legal status, address, business scope, and registered capital.


9. Litigation/Enforcement and Other Liabilities (including Administrative Punishment)

Investigating any past legal disputes, regulatory infringements, or non-compliant activities safeguards your business from potential legal troubles and reputational harm associated with the supplier.


10. Regulatory Compliance

Assessing regulatory compliance, including labor rights policies and environmental initiatives, verifies that the company operates within the bounds of local laws and regulations.


11. Main Assets of the Target Company

Evaluating the company’s main assets, such as land use rights, real estate, primary production equipment, vehicles, vessels, trademarks, software copyrights, and domain names, helps understand the company’s financial standing and operational capacity.


12. Lease of Premises Register

Assessing the company’s leased premises ensures the legality of the company’s operation sites and helps ascertain if there are potential issues with rent contracts or property disputes.


13. Property and Liability Insurance

Verifying the company’s insurance coverage provides an understanding of the company’s risk management strategies, ensuring they have adequate protection against property loss or potential liability claims.


14. Major Creditor’s Rights and Debts of the Company

Evaluating the company’s major debts and creditors’ rights gives an understanding of the company’s financial health, potential insolvency risks, and overall fiscal management.


15. Major Contracts with Suppliers and Customers

Reviewing significant contracts with suppliers and customers offers insights into the company’s contractual obligations and dependencies, which can have implications for its stability and reliability as a supplier.


16. Loan or External Security

Investigation into any loans or external securities highlights the company’s debt levels and financial obligations, which can influence its financial stability and affect its capacity to fulfill your supply needs.


17. Employment and Social Security

Analysis of employment practices and social security compliance underscores the company’s ethical conduct and adherence to labor laws, which is important for its reputation and your company’s ethical sourcing commitments.


18. Acquisition of Financial Subsidies and Major Science and Technology Funds

Evaluating these aspects gives a sense of the company’s innovation capabilities, financial health, and potentially advantageous government relationships.


19. Related-party Transactions

Evaluating related-party transactions can reveal potential conflicts of interest and financial risks, ensuring transparency in the company’s financial dealings.


20. Corporate Taxation

An assessment of the company’s tax compliance is essential to avoid potential future legal disputes, fines, or reputational damage.


21. Governance Structure and Standardized Operation of the Company

Analyzing these aspects provides insights into the company’s management style, operational effectiveness, and corporate integrity.


22. Patent (Intellectual Property)

Verification of the company’s patent and intellectual property rights is essential to avoid potential infringement claims and to ensure that the company values and respects intellectual property.


23. Major Arbitration

Investigations into any major arbitrations involving the company offer insights into potential legal or operational risks associated with the supplier.


24. On-site Investigation Records and On-site Investigation Photos

These serve as primary sources of information, validating the company’s operations and compliance with quality and safety standards.


25. Explanations of Key Concerns and Risks

A thorough analysis of key concerns and potential risks identified during the due diligence process helps businesses develop risk mitigation strategies.



The importance of legal background checks and comprehensive due diligence when collaborating with Chinese suppliers cannot be overstated. These processes safeguard companies’ financial interests, reputation, quality control in supply chains, and, importantly, intellectual property. Conclusions in a comprehensive background investigation of a company in China should encompass all findings, offering a balanced view of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential risks. By adopting a comprehensive approach and overcoming associated challenges, businesses can lay a solid foundation for successful and lasting partnerships with Chinese suppliers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why is conducting legal background checks on Chinese suppliers important?

Conducting legal background checks on Chinese suppliers is vital to verify their legitimacy, ensure regulatory compliance, safeguard against fraudulent activities, protect your intellectual property, and maintain quality assurance. Such checks also aid in the correct identification of Chinese legal entities.

2. What components should a comprehensive due diligence report include?

A comprehensive due diligence report should cover various aspects such as general information about the target company, its legal status, credibility, ownership structure, business operations, main products, qualifications, regulatory compliance, main assets, major contracts with suppliers and customers, corporate taxation, governance structure, intellectual property, and key concerns and risks, among others.

3. How can I overcome the challenges associated with conducting legal background checks on Chinese suppliers?

Collaborating with experts on the laws in China proficient in conducting background checks is beneficial. They possess a comprehensive understanding of Chinese regulations and access to local databases.

4. Why is it crucial to protect intellectual property when dealing with Chinese suppliers?

Protecting intellectual property is essential to prevent unauthorized use or replication of your proprietary information. Background checks can help identify whether suppliers have been involved in any intellectual property disputes or infringements, ensuring that your proprietary assets remain secure.

5. Why is the identification of Chinese legal entities important in the due diligence process?
Identifying Chinese legal entities is crucial because businesses in China are officially registered under their Chinese names. This identification helps accurately verify the supplier’s information and legitimacy.



Contact us if you need help with background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, trademarks, verification of contracts to the law in China, or help with other legal challenges that you have in China.

If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Manager, Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.

Contact us if you need help with drafting of contracts that follows Chinese laws and are enforceable in China, background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, trademarks, verification of contracts to the law in China, or help with other legal challenges that you have in China.

If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Managers Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com . We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional legal counsel. The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Reading this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and the author or the author’s organization. Our website aim to provide general information for educational and communication purposes.