China’s Social Enterprise Certification


Clive YE


Little was reported but China has launched a new Social Enterprise Certification in 2015 during the China Charity Fair (CCF), the largest national level charity event held in China on an annual basis. This SE Certification is an unofficial accreditation initiated and supported by five heavy weight Chinese organizations including two academic institutes: Peking University, China Global Philanthropy Institute; a research centre: Social Enterprise Research Centre; a foundation: Narada Foundation and CCF’s organizing committee – Mshan.

Leading up to the 2016 CCF, AVPN had the opportunity to be part of the nine-member selection committee deliberating on the second batch of accredited social enterprises. The 16 selected organisations were announced and celebrated at the 2016 CCF, making a total of 23 accredited organisations in China to date.

Once the SE is certified, it is valid for three years.  Although at present the SE certification is not recognized by the government, the accredited SEs will enjoy financial and non-financial supports from the community. They are also entitled to use SE certified logo on products or in any marketing materials.

Eligibility for China SE’s Certification 

As part of the expert judging committee, AVPN had a unique insider’s view of the selection processes. In order to be accredited for the SE certification, the social enterprises must fulfil four criteria:

  1. Social Mission: The organization must have well defined social objectives in its articles of associations.
  2. Registration: The organization can be registered either as corporate or charity for more than one year.
  3. Governance Structure: The organization must have clear governance structure and have no fewer than three full-time employees.
  4. Revenue Source: The organization has sustainable revenue income, of which no less than 50% must come from sales of products or services (including government purchase).

One notably absent topic in the above criteria is profit. We learned in this session that historically the predominant belief in China was that in order to be a social enterprise all profits must be ploughed back to the business. In other words, funders could not profit from the enterprise either through operations or at the time of exit. This position was however relaxed more recently to help encourage more participation of businesses in the social sector.

This was of particular interest to the AVPN team having just wrapped up an Asia Policy Dialogue session in Myanmar on the definition of Social Enterprise, where the question of profits was a polarizing factor for participants. It is encouraging to see China taking this effort forward without letting black and white definitions stall the process.


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training


Clive YE

Clive Ye is AVPN’s Membership Services Manager. Prior to AVPN, Clive has spent a year running a regional social enterprise incubator program with Singapore International Foundation. Before that, he worked in PwC Consulting as a management consultant and specialized in Supply Chain and Finance. Clive also co-founded a tech startup in Seattle after graduation and his company was selected among other ten finalist companies globally into Microsoft Kinect Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Clive is a Chinese national. He obtained MSc in Management from Singapore Management University with full scholarship and also holds a BEng in Electrical Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology, China.

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