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Home > Knowledge Centre > Selling Software and Providing IT Services to China: Regulations and Practice

Selling Software and Providing IT Services to China: Regulations and Practice

By EU SME Centre | Guidelines      21.06.2017     Tags: Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

The development of new technologies or the transfer of new technologies from abroad remains a focus for the Chinese government. Software and IT services are an important part of this highly encouraged area.

Transfer of software in a form of selling or licensing, or provision of IT services brings numerous issues and questions, such as how to enter the market in the most effective way, how to operate without losing ownership or control over the technology, or how to obtain necessary permits. These are all questions that shall be asked and answered well in advance of starting any business.

This Guideline on the importation of software and provision of IT services explains legal and practical aspects and requirements of different modes of software import to China, such as

  • Software licencing;

  • Distribution via online platform;

  • With assistance of direct distributor;

  • By investing.

It describes also legal requirements for the provision of IT-related services.

Entry mode scenarios are demonstrated on various types of software, such as embedded software, games or online education; and for various type services provision such as cloud computing or consulting.

Key Contents

Definition of Key Term
General Software Business
  • Direct Investment into China
  • Sale of Software Products to China
Specific Types of Software
  • Online Gaming
  • Embedded Software
  • Online Training Software
Provision of IT Services
  • Cloud Computing Services
  • IT Consultancy Services
  • Software R&D Service
Conclusion and Recommendations
  • Import of Software to China
  • Provision of Cross-border IT Service to China
  • Direct Investment


The report was drafted in collaboration with external creators, who worked under service agreements with the Consortium running the EU SME Centre Phase II. The copyrights and intellectual property of this publication belong to the Consortium partner China-Britain Business Council. The latter was authorised by and acted on behalf of the Consortium running EU SME Centre in China Phase II. The China-Britain Business Council, which is currently part of the Consortium running the EU SME Centre in China Phase III, has granted the rights of use of this report to the current Consortium. The report is therefore re-published and made available during the EU SME Centre Phase III.

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