Thursday, June 17, 2010

Front Men

It sounds crazy and appears to be easy money but no matter how you slice this, it's fraud.

From the Atlantic...
Not long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was. And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here.

One of the readers of the article made an interesting comment...
People that do this need to be *VERY* careful. The actual term for this is called 'RenTou', literally meaning people's head. It's basically companies of ill repute coming up with false figureheads to take the fall if something goes wrong. They also try to get westerners for this role to give the company an air of 'internationalism' and more credibility. I've run into this type of thing multiple times in the decades I've been doing business in Taiwan and China.

This happens not only in China, but Taiwan as well. Generally it tends to happen in the more rural cities. All might be well if the company happens to do well and nothing bad happens. But if the company goes awry or are fraudulent, guess where the GongAn (Chinese police) are gonna come knocking?

Click here for another example of a Chinese deception that is even more bizarre.

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