Was cc’ed on an email between one of our China lawyers and a client that sets out what our client can do to help ensure that the seal (a/k/a chop) on its China contract corresponds with the actual seal held by the Chinese company with whom our client is conducting its China business.
Thinking the email might be helpful to our readers, I reproduce a sanitized version of it below.
The only way to be virtually certain about a Chinese company seal is to do a great deal of in-person due diligence. For example, you could visit the factory in person, inspect the seal there, and then compare it to review previous contracts executed by the company and provided to you. Or, better yet, you send a Chinese attorney to confirm with the government that the seal that will be used on your contract is actually the company’s real seal. But since the dollar value of this particular transaction probably does not warrant your doing either of these things, we suggest you ask the Chinese party to provide you with the following:
- _________’s [the signatory] title, in Chinese and English;
- _________ name in Chinese characters;
- a scanned copy of __________ business card, in Chinese and English [unless you already have a copy];
- a copy of the company’s business license, and;
- an explanation as to why the “seal” on this document appears nonstandard (i.e., oval instead of circular) and does not have the company’s registration number.