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Starting a Business in Hangzhou

April 2014 | Servcorp

It's not easy starting your own business, especially in China. Between the language barrier and the intricate regulations that can overwhelm even the most adept laowai, registering your business in Hangzhou can be a nightmare, and that's just the first step. Dealing with overbearing landlords, erratically-timed bills taped on your door for who-knows-what, and finding the right staff are additional headaches that occur over and over again. Why not skip all of this and focus on your finding clients and selling your product?

Servcorp is a multinational company that can ease the pain of starting your own company in Hangzhou. Whether you're new to the city and looking to register your business or searching for office space and a secretary, they have solutions that can fit your needs. I sat down with Joanne and Georgina in their Hangzhou office to discuss some of the ways they're helping small businesses get their start in Hangzhou.

Help! I'm new to China and looking to start a business in Hangzhou, but I don't know a thing about registering my company. What's the first thing I need to do?
As a new business owner or entrepreneur, the first thing you need to know is that in order to register your business in China, the law requires you have a physical office space. Servcorp can help you find the right solution for you, whether it's a virtual office, business registration office, or a fully-furnished serviced office. Of the three aforementioned services, the latter two provides fully furnished office space that can be used to register your business in Hangzhou. The only difference being that business registration offices are much smaller in scale and can accommodate one workstation.

So what is a virtual office? Don't we need a physical address?
The best solution to test the water of the Hangzhou market, virtual office offers the perks of an office without the cost of maintaining one. Servcorp provides you with a one-stop, quick solution that gives you an address and phone number, so all of your mail will come to us and your sales phone calls will be directed to one of our local, bilingual receptionists answered in your tailored company greeting. You'll be able to use our facilities and meeting rooms which is perfect if you have client meetings and additionally, you can use our executive business lounge, for three hours per day every day when you need a private and quiet work space.

I've never heard of the virtual office idea before. What are the benefits to choosing this as opposed to a real office?
We find that entrepreneurs and small business owners greatly benefit from having a virtual office. Starting at 800RMB per month, you'll be able to test the waters with your business without too much overhead investment. By providing these services, Servcorp hopes you'll be able to concentrate more on building your business and worry less about the operational details. It's about investing your current funds wisely, and if your idea doesn't work out, you won't have wasted all that time and effort looking for space and people.

For small and medium sized businesses needing a fully-functioning office, we can provide those as well. Our 5 Star offices are fully furnished in different configurations perfect for the 1-10 people team, equipped with the most up-to-date office technology. Our reception is your reception and can provide secretarial support in all office admin tasks including translation, deal with local bureaus, bookings, and many more. And we consolidate all of your bills into one easy payment. If you've worked or lived in China before, you can probably understand the frustration of receiving utility bills every few months and having to go to the bank to pay them separately each time. We hope to make that process easier for you.

What are some of the advantages of working with Servcorp as opposed to your competitors?
One of the biggest advantages of working with us is that we have over 140 locations in more than 50 cities worldwide. If you travel frequently or work with international clients, you'll be able to use any one of our spaces all over the world. No matter where you register with us, you'll be able to have a global network of office space at your fingertips at no extra charge.

Our IT infrastructure is also designed to cater to supporting many businesses. We've invested over 50 million AUD into our global cloud network to provide easy and convenient access to the local network. For example, if you're based out of Hangzhou but have a client in Boston, we can provide you with a local American phone number to minimize your communication costs. We also provide a secure connection and complete access to the web; that means in China, you don't need to use a VPN to access Google, Twitter, or other banned sites. Finally, we are proud to have a 99.98% Internet up time, which means that you can work without any connection troubles, 99.98% of the time – highest of any industry guarantee.

Other advantages of working with us include centrally located offices in the heart of the city's district (for example, we're located in Jiahua International Center right by the Huanglong CBD in Hangzhou) and flexibility in our lease term that ranges from 1 month to 1 year.

Customer service is important in my business. How can I ensure my clients will be treated accordingly?
In China, service is undervalued. You pay top dollar for something, but don't get the attitude or service that should accompany it. At Servcorp, we understand the importance of customer satisfaction and service; as a result, we've trained all of our international managers in Sydney so that every single one of them can interact with your clients at an international standard.