Workforce Payments Guide China

Last updated: Dec 26, 2023

Currency
Chinese Yuan (CNY)
Payroll Frequency
Monthly
Capital
Beijing
Fiscal Year
1 January - 31 December
Employer Taxes
39.50% - 41.20%
Employee Costs
22.50%
Central Bank
The People's Bank of China
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3rd Party Payments

Authority  Payment Frequency  Due Date  Payment Method 
Tax Office  Monthly  15th of the following month  Bank Transfer (RMB) 
Social Insurance Office  Monthly  End of the month  Bank Transfer (RMB) 
Housing Fund Office  Monthly  End of the month  Bank Transfer (RMB) 
Enterprises  Monthly/Quarterly  15 days following the end of each month/quarter  Not specified 

Payments Coverage

Papaya Global fully supports workforce payments in China.

Contractor Payments

Papaya Global supports payments to contractors in China. The payout currency may vary based on the receiver bank account setup when receiving foreign currencies. Contractors are advised to reach out to their bank to confirm how foreign currencies are handled

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

KYC

The Know Your Customer (KYC) process in China involves assessing customer risk and complying with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. It is implemented by financial service organizations such as banking, wealth management, insurance, and financing.

For individual customers, KYC requirements include collecting and maintaining a record of the person’s name, gender, nationality, occupation, address, and ID certificate number, with identity verification relying on sources such as the Resident Identity Card, banking data, and mobile phone number data.

For entities or businesses, the KYC process, often referred to as Know Your Business (KYB), involves understanding the nature of the business, its ownership and control structure, identifying its beneficial owners, and verifying the entity’s beneficial owners. If there’s no beneficial owner, senior management needs identification and verification.

Financial institutions are also required to conduct continuous monitoring of all transactions. They must identify the Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) of accounts that are opened and maintained. This applies to all clients and other business entities.

Non-bank financial institutions, third-party payment companies, distributors, agents, online lending companies, property developers, accountancy firms, and precious metal exchanges are also covered by these regulations.

In January 2022, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) jointly released the Administrative Measures for Financial Institutions on Customer Due Diligence Investigations and Keeping of Customer Identity Information and Transaction Records (New Measures), which updated and supplemented the obligation of customer identification, transforming it into a statutory requirement of customer due diligence investigations.

Moreover, information reporting to the MOFCOM (Ministry of Commerce) is part of the process. Information about an ultimate actual controller of the company and all the investors must be disclosed to MOFCOM.

Banking Regulations

There are several banking laws and regulations that impact cross-border workforce payments in China:

  • Cross-Border Interbank Payments System (CIPS): China has been making strides in fostering cross-border use of the renminbi and building a renminbi-based interbank payments system that can serve as an alternative to SWIFT and Western clearinghouses.
  • Foreign-Funded Payment Institutions: In 2018, the People’s Bank of China issued the Announcement on Matters concerning Foreign-Funded Payment Institutions (“Circular No 7”), which for the first time set out the market entry conditions for foreign payment companies to provide domestic and cross-border payment services.
  • Currency Restrictions: Chinese laws and regulations restrict money flow – a Chinese national cannot move more than USD 50,000 a year out of the country.
  • Digital Yuan: China has been experimenting with cross-border payments of Central Bank Digital Currencies.

Opening a Bank Account

To open a company bank account in China, the following requirements need to be met:

1. The company must select a specific bank to open a bank account after acquiring a business license.

2. At least two bank accounts must be established: One RMB Basic Account for daily business operations and tax payments, and one Foreign Currency Capital Contribution Account to receive capital injections from foreign investors. The approval to open this account can be obtained from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

3. Additional general RMB accounts and other types of foreign currency accounts can be opened for different purposes.

4. The company must specify what will serve as the company’s “signature”. The financial chop (seal) of the company is usually required, along with the legal representative’s chop and a handwritten signature.

5. Banks perform an on-site visit procedure to validate the “real business” of the applicant company. This involves a bank officer visiting the applicant’s business to confirm that they have a physical location and staff.

6. The legal representative must be present at the time of account opening, or provide a letter of authorization if they can’t be present.

7. Typical documents needed include a business license and articles of association, ID documents for the legal representative, evidence of the registered address, and a capital verification report showing investor contributions. Additional documents might be required depending on the bank and the company structure.

The account opening process typically takes around three to four weeks, but it can take longer with banks due to more elaborate compliance systems and high KYC requirements. Some banks may allow the process to be completed in about five working days.

International Banks

The major foreign banks operating in China are:

  • DBS Bank
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
  • JPMorgan Asset Management (Asia-Pacific) Ltd
  • Citi
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Citigroup
  • UBS
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Credit Suisse
  • JP Morgan

Major Local Banks

The major local banks operating in China are:

  • People’s Bank of China
  • China Development Bank
  • Bank of Communications
  • Postal Savings Bank of China
  • Beijing Rural Commercial Bank
  • Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank
  • Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
  • China Construction Bank (CCB)
  • Bank of China (BOC)
  • Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)
  • China Merchants Bank
  • China Citic Bank
  • China Minsheng Bank
  • Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
  • Industrial Bank

Payment Tools

The B2C payment tools available in China are:

  • Alipay e-wallet
  • WeChat Pay
  • UnionPay
  • PayEase
  • 99Bill
  • PayPal
  • Payonner
  • Credit Card
  • Stripe
  • Google Wallet
  • Cash On Deliver
  • Check
  • Lianlian Cross-border Payment

Cryptocurrency

It is not possible to pay employees in cryptocurrency in China. The Chinese court has ruled that salary payments in cryptocurrencies like USDT stablecoin are illegal. This is due to the country’s blanket ban on all types of crypto transactions.

The court requires all employers to only pay their workers using the official currency, renminbi (RMB). Even though China has been experimenting with digital yuan, the use of other cryptocurrencies for transactions, including salary payments, is not permitted.

Please consult with a legal expert or financial advisor for specific advice tailored to your situation.

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