The Dangers of Engaging with Chinese Companies in an ‘Abnormal Operation’ State


Navigating the intricate labyrinth of global trade presents numerous potential challenges that businesses must carefully consider. One such challenge, particularly relevant when dealing with Chinese enterprises, is the issue of companies classified as being in a state of ‘abnormal operation’. This state, defined by Chinese regulatory authorities, could represent significant business risks or even total inactivity. Understanding and accounting for this risk factor is a critical component of safe and successful business operations within China’s vast and complex commercial landscape.


The Significance of ‘Abnormal Operation’ Status in China

In the context of Chinese business practices, the term ‘abnormal operation’ represents a warning issued by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). It signifies that a company could potentially be non-compliant or even entirely inactive.

There are several critical reasons for a company to be designated as in a state of abnormal operation:

i. Non-completion of the obligatory annual business review, which could be indicative of negligence or possible deceit;

ii. Failure to maintain contact with the registration authorities, a factor that suggests avoidance;

iii. The withholding of crucial information during the registration process, a distinct indication of dishonest practices.


The Risks of Collaborating with Abnormal Operation Companies

Engaging in business relationships with companies in an abnormal operation state can expose an entity to a plethora of legal, financial, and operational risks. Non-compliance with legal and regulatory standards may trigger a cascade of legal complications.

These companies might be verging on insolvency, presenting a significant financial risk. The inability of registration authorities to communicate with these firms suggests that creditors may face similar challenges, indicating a high risk of unmet financial commitments.

Fraud is an additional potential risk associated with these abnormal operation companies. A lack of oversight and transparency makes them susceptible to fraudulent activities, potentially causing severe reputational damage for any foreign company associated with them.

Operationally, these companies can be unpredictable and unreliable. Their failure to deliver promised goods or services can severely disrupt supply chains, leading to considerable financial losses. Their dishonest practices make them ill-suited for commercial partnerships.


Managing the Risks

While the prospect of collaborating with Chinese firms in an abnormal operation state might seem fraught with challenges, it can be navigated with rigorous due diligence and risk mitigation measures.

Before contemplating a partnership, foreign businesses must conduct comprehensive checks on potential Chinese partners. This involves verifying their status and probing into the reasons behind their abnormal operation status, as well as examining their financial health.

It is vital to consult with professional legal advisors to fully comprehend the possible legal complexities. Having contingency plans in place and diversifying suppliers are critical steps. Constantly monitoring the performance of the abnormal operation company is also necessary.


Concluding Remarks

The abnormal operation status of a Chinese firm represents a clear cautionary signal. It brings with it numerous potential risks that can cause significant harm to a business and could even precipitate its downfall. These companies should be approached with a high level of caution, if at all.

In the complex realm of global trade, information is a crucial defense mechanism. Understanding your trading partners and the regulatory environment within which they operate is key to safeguarding your business. Prior to any agreement, it is essential to scrutinize Chinese companies for possible fraud risks. Regular checks on existing Chinese partners are also important, as their circumstances may have changed since your last interaction. If the risks seem insurmountable, it might be prudent to avoid such engagements altogether.



1. What constitutes an ‘abnormal operating state’ for a Chinese company? A Chinese company is deemed to be in an abnormal operating state if it fails to complete the annual business review, if it cannot be reached by registration authorities, or if it has hidden significant facts during registration. This status signifies potential operational and integrity issues within the company.

2. What are the dangers of trading with a Chinese company in an abnormal operating state? The risks are considerable. The company may be financially unstable, potentially engaged in fraudulent activities, or unable to fulfill its obligations. Resolving disputes or issues may also be more challenging due to a lack of contact or transparency.

3. How can the status of a Chinese company be verified prior to establishing a business relationship? It is advisable to engage professional due diligence services to help you get a better understanding of the Chinese company before you sign contracts in China.

4. Are all Chinese companies in an abnormal operating state unreliable? Not necessarily. While an abnormal operating state serves as a warning signal, it does not conclusively denote that the company is unreliable. However, thorough due diligence and understanding the reasons for the status are crucial before making any business decisions in China.


Contact us if you need help with background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, protecting 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 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 . 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.