Business Licensing in Shanghai
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
Could I be a business? When am I likely to be considered to a business?
An activity is generally considered to be a business if it is carried out in exchange for money in a professional manner. The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce website is a good starting point which can help you identify whether your activity could be considered a business.
You will generally be considered to be conducting a business if you engage in an activity for which a license or registration is required. For example, a tourism business is a licensed activity and generally you will be considered to be a business if you are registered as a tourism business. Please see the other sections of the FAQ for details.
In addition, if you intend to issue official invoices/fapiao to guests, you would need to register as a business in order to apply for invoices from the tax bureau.
What if I am a registered business - what things should I be thinking about? Is there anything I need to be aware of when dealing with consumers?
Yes. Maintaining proper registration and filings with the relevant government agencies, including the AIC and the tax bureau among others, are crucial.
The Consumer Rights Protection Law and the Advertisement Law also require you to truthfully describe your trip or experience in your listing so that guests can make informed decisions. Your transaction with your guests should be based on the principles of voluntariness, equality, fairness, honesty and good faith. This means that:
- the information you provide to guests is accurate and not misleading;
- you accurately and completely describe in your listing the main characteristics of your trip or experience, as well as what is included and any special terms and conditions (for example, my favourite local craft cocktail bar experience includes the first round of drinks, but guests must pay for additional drinks on their own);
- you provide the services advertised in your listing, within the advertised dates and times, and at the advertised price;
- the services you provide are safe for your guests and their property; and
- you do not use any wording such as “highest level” or “best” when describing your trip or experience, and you do not denigrate the trips or experiences provided by others.
We encourage you to review the laws above for further information. You should always check with the relevant authorities or speak to a lawyer to determine which registrations, reports, or licenses may be required for the experiences you are offering.
Do any business registration or licensing obligations apply?
Yes, if you are considered to be a business:
- you need to obtain an individual business license and a tax registration number;
- you need to provide a tax-compliant invoice (fapiao) upon request; and
- depending on the specific categories of services that you are providing, you may also need an operating license. We encourage you to review relevant local licensing requirements for the types of services you plan to offer in order to determine whether you should apply for any licenses.
Do I need to set up a company or comply with any other formal requirements?
You may choose to run your business as an individual. However, if you plan to establish a tourism agency that you will need to set up a company.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will involve other activities (for example, serving or providing food or alcohol, or providing transportation), please take a look at our information sections to determine if any other rules might apply to your activity. You should always check with relevant government agencies or speak to a lawyer to determine which registrations, reports, or licenses may be required for the experiences you are offering.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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