In China, a company stamp (“chop”) is equivalent to the signature of the company CEO. Every official company document – including business transactions with European companies – must be stamped with the company chop, otherwise it can be called into question. Chinese legal chops have standardized elements that make it easy to recognised if they are real and have legal value, i.e.:
- Circled shape
- Red ink
- Big red star in the middle
- Full legal name in Chinese of the entity.
Sometimes, the chop registration number is also shown; in other cases, chops might also be bilingual, but they always replicate the standardised shape and colour of monolingual chops. All chops featuring different sizes, shapes, colours, or chops only in English, have absolutely no legal value in China and they are generally a red flag for a potential scam – especially when the scammer is trying to sell to Europe.
At the EU SME Centre, we have many resources guiding you on how to verify the validity of company chops in China (with pictures), as well as on how to conduct background checks and preliminary due diligence.