Know the law when entering the China market

Before you can begin thinking about entering the China market, you need to ensure you understand the laws. While failing to understand the market can cause you embarrassment, as detailed in our last post, failing to understand the law can have much more serious repercussions.

We’ve put together four basic tips to get you started thinking about Chinese law. These are in no way definitive, but are designed to show you a few of the many differences you will encounter.

1. Beware grey areas

As China’s economy grows, new laws and regulations have been drawn up, and changes in the old ones made to allow development. What this means is that the legal system in China is somewhat of a work in progress (source: Like any legal system, there are loopholes and gaps in the law which have yet to be addressed. Make you know where they are, and how to avoid them.

2. Protect your trademark

There are two very important things you need to know about trademarks in China. The first is that it can take a very long time between applying for a trademark and it being officially registered. The entire process usually takes between 15 and 18 months (source:

Secondly, China’s trademark laws tend to work on a first-come-first-served basis. Huge companies such as Apple and Starbucks have had to fight lengthy court battles to secure the rights to their trademarks in China, because others have seen the potential for the company to expand and pre-emptively registered their trademarks for themselves, even if they are not using them to do business (source:

Both of these points highlight the need to move fast when it comes to securing your intellectual property in China.

3. Know your standards

If you are planning on selling goods to China, you need to ensure that you are complying with the correct regulations. Chinese import standards take precedence over standards from the rest of the world, even if they are in many cases similar (source: Just because you adhere to commonly adopted standards worldwide, you may be contravening Chinese law.

4. Get a Chinese native speaker

Chinese is a very different language to English, and so translating one to the other is often more about giving a ‘feel’ for the sentiment being expressed, rather than a verbatim quote. For this reason, you need to have a Chinese speaker onside to help you understand the laws and how they apply to your business. Written translations may help, but it could get you into trouble because you may not realise you are not following the law.

Ready for China? Set your plans in motion

Once you understand everything that is involved in entering the China market, the next step is to actually do it. We are experts in Chinese culture and marketing, so we are the perfect choice to help you enter the China market in a strong and rewarding way. Contact us today for more information.

(Image source: “Businessman Connect World” |