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Chinese Name: 增值电信业务经营许可证-在线数据处理与交易处理业务
The B21 license is a license under the VATS (Value-Added Telecommunications Services) licensing scheme authorizing a business to operate an e-commerce platform, B2B data exchange platform, or a platform for networking hardware in China. It is administered to businesses for operation within the scope of a province, autonomous region, or centrally-administered municipality in one of two forms:
Foreign enterprises will almost always need the cross-locality license so that they can operate across China.
The B21 license is defined in Announcement of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Promulgating the Classification Catalogue of Telecommunication Services (2015) as follows:
“Online data processing and transaction processing services refer to the services of online data processing and transaction/affair processing provided for users through public communication networks or the Internet, by utilizing various kinds of data and affair/transaction processing application platforms that are connected to public communication networks or the Internet. The services of online data processing and transaction processing include transaction processing services, electronic data exchange services and network/electronic equipment data processing services.”
The B21 license is required for websites/platforms providing users with online data processing and transaction processing services, such as:
To apply for a B21 license, your company must fulfill these requirements:
As already stated above, according to the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access (Edition 2020), since June 2020 there is no cap on foreign-owned percentage of investment for e-commerce services.
Each province, municipality, and enterprise zone has their own requirements for foreign vested enterprises. Here is an example from the Shanghai Free Trade Zone:
What happens in actual practice, including fines/punishment, varies by region. Businesses registered in Hong Kong, Macau, or free-trade zones may enjoy additional advantages.
File online with the local MIIT authorities. In the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, file with the Shanghai Communications Administration (SCA). All document and filing requirements vary by region. See Administrative Measures on Telecommunications Business Permits for a list of basic filing materials required.
Receiving the license generally takes three months or less.
Operating these services without the B21 License may result in a fine of up to 3 to 5 times amount earned until that point, as well as the shutting down and blacklisting of that entity. You cannot carry out your business while applying, or both you and the approval agency will be punished. (article 69 of Telecommunications Regulations of the People’s Republic of China)
The B21 License must be renewed every 3 years.
App and game publishers in China must adhere to a set of laws and regulations that can seem opaque and confusing to foreign developers and companies. AppInChina simplifies and demystifies this process for our clients.
AppInChina will analyze your app, determine which licenses are needed, and apply on your behalf. See this page for other licenses that may be required for features in specialized categories, such as video conferencing and education. Contact us today for a consultation.
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