Outsource yourself to China as a fake white executive

July 14, 2010

CNBC plus the Atlantic Monthly have reported about another odd story involving “fakes” and China, only this time its not fake DVDs or purses but fake white executives. Apparently, white guys from the USA and other Western countries are being hired there as fake executives in order to bring the appearance of the Western world into the Chinese business world. 

According to Mitch Moxley, a freelance writer living in Beijing who wrote the Atlantic Monthly piece and who was once hired as a fake executive, having face is immensely important in China and having a white face will give credibility to Chinese companies. In his case, he was hired to work as a quality-control expert with an American company that actually did not exist and spent a week in a grimy industrial city in Shandong province. His job was simple: Attend some dinners, go to ceremonies and have pictures taken with the Mayor and tour the factory once a day. The rest of the time was spent in a fly-ridden office sleeping, reading magazines and joking around. However, the payoff for a week of this “work” was US$1,000.

Outsource yourself to China as a fake white executive
How do you get a job as a fake white executive in China? According to one commenter to the Atlantic Monthly article, its fairly simple:

  1. Be white and male (sorry, women need not apply).
  2. Be attractive.
  3. Have a nice suit and tie.
  4. Live in Beijing and find a cheap apartment to rent in the Haidian district.
  5. In order to be “discovered,” hang out at the Beijing Language & Culture University.
  6. Or in the early mornings around 7 am, just hang out around the front gate area of the Beijing Film Academy as this is where the TV and film crews will be meeting before they drive off to work.
  7. Approach other foreigners and try to meet their Chinese agents as its the agents who will find the work and end up making most of the money.

The commenter then noted that he was “working” 3 to 5 days a month and earning US$100 a day doing advertisements and the occasional “scam gig” like what Moxley described. However, he also added that if you are worried about moral issues, you probably won’t know the job you will be getting anyway, unless you are fluent in Chinese, until you get to the job site. 

Besides the fact that such work is at least keeping some Americans employed, there is another side to this story worth noting: At least there is one thing, besides dollars and IOUs in the form of government bonds, that we can still make in America that can be exported to the Chinese for them to buy!


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