How can we help you?

How can I know if the chops used by Chinese companies are real?

In China, company stamps (or chops) are essential for any business contract – much more than in the EU. They are a symbol of the legal rights of the company; there are therefore very strict rules for their usage and storage. Chinese company stamps have standardised elements which are clearly identifiable (with very rare exceptions):

  • Circular or oval shape
  • Red ink
  • Red star in the middle
  • Company name written in Chinese characters
  • Occasionally, bilingual chops in Chinese and English might be used; a 13-digit number might also appear, indicating the chop’s registration number with the authorities.

Company stamps in any other shapes, sizes, colours or languages have no legal value in China. One may argue that other chops – especially those in English – are used to facilitate the foreign partner’s understanding of the stamp; in practice, these are often a strong indicator that the company does not want to disclose its legal information and thus may have something to hide.

The EU SME Centre has produced many resources on how to verify the validity of company chops in China, as well as on how to conduct background checks and preliminary due diligence. We can also assist you for informal, free-of-charge background checks.