Quality Products International

Fake Western businessman?

by on Jul.02, 2010, under General News

QPI Ltd CN – 简体中文版 |    QPI Ltd HK – 繁體中文版

Here in China, a country infamous for copies, knock off’s, look a likes, clones and fakes, there is a new trend emerging, which is the “fake western business man”!

It is fair to say that some local Chinese would say “fake” businessmen have been coming to China for years.

Partly an impression with the historical “cultural divide” between East and West, partly with the broad spectrum of businessmen coming to China ranging from “green behind the ears” naïve new comers, overwhelmed and ripe for pick pockets and swindlers, the starry eyed hopefuls promising factory owners orders of a “gazillion units”, through to the cowboys vying for a fast buck, or the sharks looking for new waters to swim.

…. all wild stories and stereotypes aside, the vast majority of business men plying back and forth to China are capable and competent leading to the massive trade.

So, what then of these “fake western business men”?

……professional con men, developing the latest scam?

No! Most of them are models, actors, English Teachers, or one of the grown number of long term tourists boosting their income as they explore and experience life in China.

In a country and culture where image, symbolism, and “face” are often more important than substance, having a Westerner involved in a project or deal can often give it a lot more kudos.

It may not always be convenient to bring a legitimate western contact from abroad, it may not always be convenient to have a legitimate western partner…..or the entire project may indeed be far less than legitimate!

Except from CNN Story

Some call it “White Guy Window Dressing.” To others, it’s known as the “White Guy in a Tie” events, “The Token White Guy Gig,” or, simply, a “Face Job.”

And it is, essentially, all about the age-old Chinese concept of face. To have a few foreigners hanging around means a company has prestige, money and the increasingly crucial connections — real or not — to businesses abroad.

“Face, we say in China, is more important than life itself,” said Zhang Haihua, author of “Think Like Chinese.” “Because Western countries are so developed, people think they are more well off, so people think that if a company can hire foreigners, it must have a lot of money and have very important connections overseas. So when they really want to impress someone, they may roll out a foreigner.”

Or rent one.

The requirements for these jobs are simple. 1. Be white. 2. Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all, unless asked. 3. Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday.

“Occasionally companies want a foreign face to go to meetings and conferences or to go to dinners and lunches and smile at the clients and shake people’s hands,” read an ad posted by a company called Rent A Laowai (Chinese for “foreigner”) on the online classified site thebeijinger.

Full CNN article

Obviously all this may range from benign showmanship to serious fraud, either way it demonstrates a willingness to go to some length to dress a company up well beyond actual facts and capabilities!

The question for buyers is, if local business are able to successfully delude other western companies, what chance does someone have half way around the world, with phone and internet contact, even with the occasional visit.

QPI offers buyers a range of comprehensive audits to get a thorough understanding of potential suppliers before doing business with them, testing services to check that their product is legally compliant, monitoring to mitigate problems developing and inspection services to ensure product quality is in line with that ordered.

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