News & Policies
China Bans Weird, Long, and Sensitive Company Names
The Rules for the Prohibition and Restriction of Enterprise Names, released by China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), ban businesses from registering company names authorities consider “weird”, overly long, politically sensitive, or mimicking existing brands. Businesses already registered with names authorities deem inappropriate may be compelled to alter them. The new rules came into effect on July 31, 2017.
Under the new guidelines, other types of banned company names include those that contain:
• Names that have negative political connotation (e.g. “Chi Na”, “Black Sun”, “Large Landowner”);
• References to terrorism, separatism, or extremism (e.g. “9/11”, “East Turkistan”, “Occupy”);
• References to colonial culture (e.g. “Yamato”, “Formosa”);
• References to other illegal organizations (e.g. Falun Gong);
• References to undesirable ’feudal era’ cultural concepts and superstitions that hinder social stability;
• References to drug, obscenity, eroticism, and gambling;
• References to current and revolutionary Chinese leaders or the People’s Liberation Army (e.g. Dong Cunrui, Lei Feng);
• Language that discriminates against genders, sexes, races, or ethnicities;
• References to religious organizations or significant religious elements (e.g. “Christianity”, “Buddhism”, “Islam”);
• Names of foreign countries, regions, or names of international organizations;
• Names that give the impression that they are non-profit organizations;
• Names that include names of political parties, organizations, and designation of troops;
• Name of region, industry, and organization structure (e.g. “Beijing”, “Steel”, “WFOE”);
• Names that refer to prohibited sectors;
• Names that mimic existing brands;
• Names that say they are “national” or “the best”; and,
• Names of occupations, positions, degrees, job titles, military ranks, and police ranks.
Beyond complying with the new enterprise naming restrictions, preexisting laws stipulate that a name must consist of more than two Chinese characters. The SAIC does not accept names containing foreign languages or alphabets, as well as numbers and special characters. Before submitting the application, businesses can conduct a preliminary check through the local Enterprise Name Query System to identify similar company names that are already registered. Further, businesses should prepare at least five potential names for AIC approval.