When preparing incorporation of company in China, the first step of the formalities that bring to the set-up is to conduct a name pre-registration with the Administration for Industry and Commerce (“AIC”).

Unfortunately, such databases are currently not open to public and experts can only use the AIC register as reference (which has some deficiencies to serve the purpose of clearance of the company names).

On October 18, 2016, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce issued the Guiding Opinion on Opening the Corporate Name Database to Push Ahead with Corporate Name Registration Administration Reform in an Orderly Manner (the “Guiding Opinion”). The Guiding Opinion aims at facilitating the registration of company names.

The Name Database shall include the names of existing companies, company names changed less than 1 year ago, company names whose business license has been revoked but failed the de-registration formalities, company names which have already be submitted for pre-registration but are not pre-registered yet, company names which have already been pre-registered and are still within the validity term (although the company is not duly established yet), etc.

All potential obstacles to name registration will be listed and available online no later than December 1, 2016.