Seriously, you need to find a good Chinese lawyer in the city where you want to set this up and ask for professional advice regarding your questions. You are NOT going to find such specific info on forums or by conducting google searches. If your wife has family in the place where you want to settle then ask them for the name and contact info of a good Chinese lawyer to engage with.
As for a general answer (based on personal experience and info I have from friends, which is NOT reliable) being an owner of a compnay, especially from your description of not wanting or being able to plunge a serious amount of cash into the business does not entitle you to a work permit and residency permit. China will give you these things but generally only after sinking SERIOUS money into a venture.
This is early research. This is also a legitimate business. Shouldn't JV be under local Chinese law, meaning that the start up capital is as low as Chinese standard? Being a leader of your own small business should allow you to get a work permit to work in that business shouldn't it?
We will already have a residency permit, its just the work permit that is the trouble.
I'm sorry if this is irritating anybody. I am just trying to figure this out.
It's ok, but I do feel like you are asking the same question over and over again to see if you can get a different answer you like.
Money is money, only a large amount will impress the local authorities enough to want to give you a RP and WP JV or not. In all honestly having a JV doesn't really decrease the amount of capital you need to start up a business here.
Remember I said in a previous post that the number of foreign employees of a company (read owners as well as there is little difference in reality) is dependent on how large the company is and how much capital is has. A friend of mine that helped with the registration of our first company said it usually takes about 6 Chinese employees before you can hire one foreign employee.
Remember you can register a company here in China but it doesn't come with permits for work or anything like that.
As a side note the friend of mine that opened his solely foreign owned enterprise (the restaurant) still has to have a main gig with a visa and he put a lot more money into that they you seem to want to put into yours ($15,000 if I remember correctly)
At the end of the day i just can't express enough how important it is to have local information in regards to this question.
i could link the national requirements for capital investment, hiring conditions and whatver I liked but the local regulations are going to be what actually cuts the mustard at the end of the day. It's the local authorities, not those in Beijing that set the standards that you have to go by.
They will say yay or nay, tell you how much you need and if you can get the documents you want.
Plus at the end of the day you seems to assume that China has a rational rule of law that is not changeable from place to place, this is in no way true. Chinese law is should
so is open to interpretation by whatever desk jockey you meet. Laws are often ignored or bent on a daily basis to suit whatever stance the local authorities want to take on that particular day or week.