A company may seek and pay for third party intermediary services to sell its products.

However, the intermediary service provider must have the business scope of intermediary services, and the commission or services fees in whatever form, if paid and received, must clearly and accurately recorded in the accounting books of both parties. Otherwise, the payment and acceptance of commission or service fees will be held as a form of commercial bribery, where both parties would be exposed to administrative sanctions.

In practice, an automobile distributor who recommended to its customers some financial products of a third party and received service fees for this recommendation was held to be committing commercial bribery by a local Administration of Industry and Commerce (“AIC”).

Certainly, it would be worse if the alleged services of intermediaries that were paid for were never performed in reality. It is likely the case when the intermediaries were not qualified to provide the intermediary services. If such disqualified intermediary, either a company or a person, is in close connection with the business the paying party is seeking from the counterparty, no matter whether the services are real or not, AIC will probably treat the commission from the paying party as commercial bribery.