Apparently all you need is a decent suit and, more importantly, be white. From NPR:
Mitch Moxley, a freelance writer who lives in Beijing, discovered that with just those assets, he could make a living as a fake American businessman. He wrote about his experience in The Atlantic article “Rent A White Guy: Confessions of a Fake Businessman from Beijing.”
“Basically, a friend of a friend knew of a company that needed a bunch of white guys to go down and represent the company,” Moxley told NPR’s Robert Siegel. “I didn’t know too much other than it was going to be $1,000 for a week and then we would be put in a hotel. And we’d have to attend a couple of banquets and tour a factory.”
Moxley says his guess is that companies hire white people in suits to gain “a bit of credibility.” He says that connections in China are important, especially in business.
“It was pretty funny. The whole thing was a little bit surreal,” he says. “We were down there and were being paraded around a half-built factory and we had to sit in temporary offices the rest of the day, not really doing anything. … We were sleeping at our desks or reading magazines.”
But Moxley says he and the fake businessmen got the “red-carpet treatment” at the opening ceremony for the factory. “They had police escorting vehicles to the ceremony,” he says. “We were sitting at the front row right before the stage. One guy was supposedly the company director, and he gave a speech in front of 100 or so people. At the end, he was taking pictures with the mayor and being interviewed on local TV.”
Ain’t that a peach.
(Hat Tip Susan Mark)