We are currently in the process of creating a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise aka WFOE aka woofie. This involves multiple engagements with government offices including but not limited to:
National Security Bureau
Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau
Administration Bureau of Industry and Commerce
Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision
State Tax Bureau
Local Tax Bureau
Foreign Exchange Bureau
While engaged in this process two interesting discoveries have thus far been made:
We, meaning Jessica, our COO, have discovered that the word 海拓环境 which means both “environment” and “environmental”, is apparently trademarked in Zhejiang Province by 浙江海拓环境技术有限公司 Zhejiang Haituo Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. Therefore, no company in Zhejiang Province can use the word environment or environmental in their name without applying to a particular government office for the right to pay Zhejiang Haituo Environmental Technology Co., Ltd. to use the word environment.
We will be visiting the office in the near future to see if this is actually true and what the application involves. If this is true we plan on pivoting towards a business model of trademarking words like education, science, services, restaurant, maybe even “business”.
We, meaning Jessica, again, is talking to a few agencies about assisting us in creating the WFOE. Most of them appear to be somewhere between clueless and vaguely aware of what documents are needed, where to get them, and how they need to be prepared. The most recent one we’ve been talking with, 瑞豐德永國際商務(中國)有限公司 Rui Fung Tak International Business (China) Limited, seems the least worst so far.
The problem is that they appear to believe because we spoke with them about their services and asked for a quote, we are obliged to pay them immediately and upfront or they will be very angry and have their feelings hurt ㅠㅠㅠㅠ. They are bothering my co-founder for money, she believes they may register the name we provided in an attempt to blackmail us in the future if we delay or go with another agent. It was a bad idea to provide them with our proposed name.
Another interesting event, they initially said we needed to pay ¥5,000 because of special paperwork for using the word “Zhejiang” which is provincial, instead of “Ningbo” which is city level. Jessica negotiated with them, asking for an itemized list of charges. This reduced the price to 2,000, then to 1,600. Later the company claimed the government rules had just changes and in fact there would be no additional fee.