The Secrets Behind Unified Social Credit Code (统一社会信用代码)

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What is the Unified Social Credit Code (USCC)?

A lot of our clients asked about what the Unified Social Credit Code of a Chinese company is because they heard about this term from time to time when dealing with companies in China.

To put it simply, it is the ID number of a Chinese company. Every legally registered company in mainland China gets a unique 18-digit Unified Social Credit Code from its registration authorities. With it, we can verify a company’s registration information and reputation.

Where can I find the Unified Social Credit Code?

  • Ask your Chinese supplier for a business license.
  • Look for the Chinese characters “统一社会信用代码”
  • The 18-digit number and letters that come after or under these characters are the Unified Social Credit Code.

Check this picture for an example.

This is the business license of Youku Information Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd, one of the biggest Netflix-like online video provider in China. On the top left corner, we can see its Unified Social Credit Code: 91110108786197705E

What does the Unified Social Credit Code stand for?

A typical Unified Social Credit Code consists of the following information:

  • Digit 1 represents the registering authority
  • Digit 2 represents the registered entity type
  • Digits 3 – 8 represent the registering region code
  • Digits 9 – 17 represent the organization code
  • Digit 18 represents the check digit

Should I ask for its Unified Social Credit Code before doing business with a Chinese company?

Yes, always do that! It is very important to ask your Chinese supplier or business partner for either a copy of its business license or its Unified Social Credit Code.

After getting its business license or Unified Social Credit Code, you can verify whether your future supplier’s company is legitimate, whether it has a good reputation, and many other possible risks!

If your future supplier refuses to do so, just walk away.

What may we find about a Chinese company with its Unified Social Credit Code?

This is what frauds usually do:

  • They may use a company name that is not legally registered in China. A contract signed under this fake name may not be legally effective.
  • They may change the company’s date of establishment to hide that the company was recently established.
  • They may increase the amount of registered capital to suggest a stronger financial position. (By the way, you can never know whether a company is strong financially with its registered capital even if they provide you the company’s accurate registered capital.
  • They may increase the expiry date to hide that the business license is not valid anymore.
  • They may add business categories to the business scope. For example, they may add “manufacturing” to a company’s business scope when it is only a wholesaler or middleman who is not allowed to manufacture products.
  • They may say they are honest businessmen when they are actually on the official list of dishonest persons subject to enforcement.

With a company’s Chinese name or its Unified Social Credit Code, we can not only verify all those information but also do legal and reputational checks on this company.

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