Risks of Offshore Intermediaries in Chinese Manufacturing

The global manufacturing landscape is increasingly complex and interconnected, with China standing as a pivotal hub. However, this terrain presents unique challenges, particularly when dealing with offshore intermediaries that own or represent Chinese manufacturing entities. This article explores the risks associated with such arrangements, highlighting key issues like the lack of direct control, legal complexities, and potential pitfalls.


The Crucial Role of Contracts Adapted to Chinese Law

In transactions involving offshore intermediaries and Chinese manufacturers, it is essential to prioritize contracts that are specifically tailored to Chinese law and, ideally, written in Chinese. This approach not only mitigates translation issues in potential legal disputes but also ensures the enforceability of contracts under Chinese jurisdiction. Establishing a direct contractual relationship with the Chinese manufacturer, rather than through an offshore intermediary, can provide better legal protection, clarity, and a more robust position in case of disputes.


Navigating Jurisdictional Complexities

Offshore intermediaries often complicate jurisdictional matters. While these entities may be located in regions with different legal systems, their connections to Chinese manufacturers can create a web of legal entanglements. Enforcing a contract or legal judgment across different jurisdictions can be fraught with challenges, including lengthy legal battles and enforcement issues. This becomes particularly problematic when disputes arise, as accountability can become obscured, and resolution mechanisms may be less straightforward.


The Risks Behind the Offshore Smokescreen

Chinese manufacturers sometimes use offshore intermediaries strategically, creating a smokescreen that can obscure actual business practices. This arrangement can lead to issues like deflected accountability and complicated legal recourse. Offshore intermediaries often act as buffers, intentionally blurring the lines of responsibility and enabling financial manipulations or unethical practices that are harder to pinpoint and address.


Strengthening Business Positions through Diligence

To safeguard their interests, businesses must conduct comprehensive due diligence, which includes thorough background checks of both the offshore intermediaries and the Chinese manufacturers. Engaging with legal experts knowledgeable in Chinese law and international trade is crucial. This ensures that contracts are legally sound, favorable, and aligned with the complexities of international manufacturing agreements.



While the prospect of working with offshore intermediaries in Chinese manufacturing might seem advantageous for various reasons, the associated legal and operational risks cannot be understated. Contracts that are tailored to Chinese law lay a solid foundation for legal protection. Foreign companies venturing into this domain should exercise extreme caution, prioritizing transparency, direct communication, and robust legal safeguards. Navigating this complex landscape requires a careful approach to mitigate the potential risks inherent in engaging with offshore intermediaries representing Chinese manufacturers.



Q1: Why is it important to have contracts tailored to Chinese law when dealing with Chinese manufacturers? A1: Tailoring contracts to Chinese law is crucial because it ensures enforceability and clarity in legal proceedings within China. It avoids translation issues and sets clear jurisdiction, providing better legal protection and a more robust position in case of disputes, especially when dealing with offshore intermediaries.

Q2: What are the main risks of working with offshore intermediaries in Chinese manufacturing? A2: The main risks include jurisdictional complexities, lack of direct control, obscured accountability, and potential for legal disputes that are difficult to resolve due to different legal systems. Offshore intermediaries can also create smokescreens that hide the actual business practices of the manufacturers.

Q3: How do offshore intermediaries complicate legal matters in Chinese manufacturing? A3: Offshore intermediaries complicate legal matters by introducing different jurisdictions and legal systems into the equation. This can lead to challenges in contract enforcement, protracted legal disputes, and difficulties in holding the right parties accountable.

Q4: What does due diligence involve when dealing with Chinese manufacturers and offshore intermediaries? A4: Due diligence involves conducting thorough background checks on both the offshore intermediaries and the Chinese manufacturers. It also includes understanding their business practices, financial stability, legal history, and reputation. Consulting with legal experts in Chinese law and international trade is also a key part of due diligence.

Q5: Why might a Chinese manufacturer use an offshore intermediary? A5: A Chinese manufacturer might use an offshore intermediary for various reasons, including to create a buffer that obscures business practices, deflect accountability, and complicate legal recourse. This can facilitate financial manipulations or unethical practices that are more challenging to address directly.

Q6: Can legal judgments be easily enforced across different jurisdictions in cases involving offshore intermediaries? A6: Enforcing legal judgments across different jurisdictions is often challenging and complex. Differences in legal systems and procedural rules can lead to lengthy legal battles and significant difficulties in ensuring enforcement, particularly when trying to hold offshore intermediaries accountable.

Q7: What can businesses do to protect themselves when dealing with offshore intermediaries and Chinese manufacturers? A7: Businesses can protect themselves by ensuring contracts are adapted to Chinese law, conducting comprehensive due diligence, and engaging with legal experts familiar with Chinese and international law. Prioritizing transparency, direct communication, and robust legal safeguards are also crucial in mitigating risks.


Contact us if you need legal help in China, like drafting effective cease and desist letters, drafting contracts that follow Chinese law and are enforceable in China, background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, trademarks, copyright, and verification of contracts to the law in China, help with trade and IP disputes in China, etc.

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 companiesprotecting 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  or Milla Chen, at huimin.chen@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.