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Q&A about the e-certificate

1.What is the e-certificate?

The e-certificate (specifically the e-certificate issued by CQC) refers to the certificate that applies electronic signature on the electronic version of the original certificate (data message) and has the same legal effect as the paper one. The electronic signature means the data included and attached in data message in electronic form, for the use of identifying the identity of the signatory and showing that the signatory has recognized the contents therein. The electronic signature on the e-certificate is the official seal of “China Quality Certification Centre”. The electronic signature has two functions: one is to identify the signatory (CQC), as the e-certificate is issued by us, the electronic signature indicates that the signatory (CQC) has recognized the certificate contents; the other is to avoid tampering, because any tampering of the contents in the electronic document will make such signature invalid.

2.What are the differences and similarities between the e- certificate and the paper certificate?

Since the establishment of CCC system, CQC has always been issuing paper certificates to certificate applicants. Starting from February 14, 2020, the e-certificate shall be issued at the same time when issuing the paper one to the applicant.

In terms of content and format, the e-certificate includes the main body and the attachments (if any) of the certificate or the statement of modification, which are basically consistent with the paper one, except for the paper number at the bottom. The e-certificate shall be made in PDF format and has the official seal of “China Quality Certification Centre” with the special electronic signature of CQC on it.

In terms of the legal effect, the e-certificate shall be effective only in the form of data message (the electronic version) and shall have the same legal effect with corresponding paper certificate. However, if the e-certificate is converted in form or printed out, it is no longer effective as the original one.

In short, the e-certificate has the same functions as paper certificate. With more advanced technology, reform and innovation, it will be applied in more usage scenarios and has more advantages than paper one in terms of safety, reliability, efficiency, and convenience of inquiry and supervision.




An example of the e-certificate

3.Why do we issue the e-certificate?

Since e-certificates are easy to manage and use and can be obtained rapidly, many certificate applicants wanted us to launch the e-certificates as early as possible.

CQC has decided to promote the use of the e-certificate in order to provide more efficient services for our customers. We have greatly shortened the claiming time of certificates in a legal and effective manner to realize “delivery immediately after issuing”. In addition, as increasing traditional areas adopt paper-free working and the idea of “low-carbon, environmental protection and green” has become increasingly popular, the application of e-certificates in the certification area will be unlimited in the future digital era.

4.How to obtain the e-certificate?

Since February 14, 2020, the applicant can get the corresponding e-certificate while obtain the paper certificate without any additional operations or extra fees, regardless of first application or application for modification. The e-certificate includes the main body and the attachments (if any) of the certificate or the statement of modification.

Compared with the paper certificate, it is easier to get the digital one. Once a paper certificate is issued by CQC, its corresponding e-certificate will be prepared immediately. After the e-certificate is completed and released in the CQC Product Certification Management System, the applicant may check and download it by logging in the system within the validity period of the certificate. The notice of completion of the certificate will also be given to the contact person by means of e-mail and short message (via the e-mail address and telephone number bound in the system).

The statement of modification can be checked and downloaded immediately after the modification is approved by CQC. The certificate of modification and the statement of modification should be viewed and downloaded online respectively.

As shown in the following picture, you can enter the “My certificate information” in the system and click the “English e-certificate” to download.



For viewing and downloading of the e-certificate

As shown in the following picture, you can enter the “My application form for modification” in the system and click the “download the application form for modification” to download it or the statement of modification.




For viewing and downloading of the application form for modification

The CQC Product Certification Management System is the exclusive way to check and download the e-certificate. Please be sure to keep properly the application account information (including the account name and password), which is also emphasized in Article 18 (supplement article) of the certificate applicant’s commitment stated in the certification application form.

5.Are the e-certificate and the scanned copy of the paper certificate the same thing?

The electronic scanned copy of the paper certificate obtained from copying, scanning, photographing, making videos or other processing methods of the paper certificate is not same as the e-certificate and can only be seen as “the certificate of electronic version”, which can merely be used to provide certification information. Likewise, the paper document printed out from the e-certificate cannot be seen as paper certificate either.

6.How to verify the e-certificate?

The verification of the e-certificate includes the verification of the electronic signature as well as the contents of the certificate. After obtaining the certificate, it is recommended to open the PDF file with Adobe Reader to check the electronic signature and its validity (as shown in the following picture). In terms of contents of the certificate, the information of the certificate can be validated through the website of the CNCA (www.cnca.gov.cn) or the website of the CQC (www.cqc.com.cn).

Only the certificate with valid electronic signature and consistent contents in valid status can be used.





The certificate with valid electronic signature

7.How to deal with "the validity of the signatory is unknown" when verifying the electronic signature?

If it shows "the validity of the signatory is unknown" when verifying the electronic signature, the certificate applicant may log in the system and download the e-certificate again.

8.What should be done if the e-certificate is to be expired?

The certificate applicant shall apply for certificate renewal in advance according to relevant certification regulations/rules prior to the expiration of the certificate. After the renewal is approved by CQC and new e-certificate with new validity period is issued, the applicant may log in the system and download the new certificate.

9. What else should we know when managing and using the e-certificate?

Upon receiving the certificate, the applicant can use it in the advertising, publicity, bidding, quality supervision law enforcement activities and other scenarios where it is required to provide relevant certificate of conformity. Use and management of the certificates shall be in strict accordance with Law of the People's Republic of China on Product Quality, Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Certification and Accreditation, Mandatory Product Certification Management Regulations and other relevant regulations, and the following violations (extracted) are strictly forbidden: use the certificates beyond the certification scope; use the product and service certificates, certification marks and the relative characters and marks to mislead the public to believe that their management systems have passed the certification; forge, fraudulently use, borrow/lend, sell/buy or transfer the certificates; fail to apply for modification of the certificates and continue to use the certificates in delivery, sales or other operating activities during the period of revoking, cancellation and suspension of such certificates, or in the situation where the validity of the certified results is affected by material changes to the certified products and services

If the validity of the certification results is affected by any material changes to the certified products and services, the certified enterprise shall apply for modification, and the certificate can only be used after relevant requirements are met through evaluation. The enterprise shall not continue to use the certificate if the certified result has changed but no application for modification is made, or such changes are not evaluated, or the certification requirements are not satisfied upon evaluation. The enterprise shall cease to use the certificate upon expiration or the certificate is suspended, revoked or cancelled. In the case that the certificate is revoked or cancelled, the enterprise shall delete relevant e-certificate and destroy the printed paper certificate.

In case of any improper conducts when using the certificate, relevant certified enterprise shall immediately cease to use the certificate and adopt effective remedies to eliminate the effects that exert or may exert. Relevant certificate shall be suspended or revoked according to related provisions and the certified enterprise will be investigated for legal liabilities depending on the circumstances.

10.Does the certificate applicant need CA certificate (USBKEY) to view and download the e-certificate?

The certificate applicant can log on to the system with user name and password, view and download the certificate, and do not need CA certificate (USBKEY).

For the purpose of increasing efficiency and saving cost, some certificate applicants choose to put electronic signatures on the application forms in the system by means of the CA certificates. The application forms with electronic signatures will substitute paper application forms and the applicants are not required to submit paper application forms with seal to CQC.


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