Thursday, July 01, 2010

Rent-a-white-guy: Markets in everything

It's not too surprising that car companies and others with flashy products to sell hire beautiful fair-skinned women to pose with their products. Appealing to prejudice sells. There's no attempt to fool anyone into thinking the models know anything about the products.

Not so when it comes to hiring white guys to pretend to be business men. CNN reports:
For a day, a weekend, a week, up to even a month or two, Chinese companies are willing to pay high prices for fair-faced foreigners to join them as fake employees or business partners.

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.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bull in a China shop?

11:31 AM  
Blogger the real nick said...

Surely this is not limited to China. Dubai companies have practised 'white room meat' policy for ages.

12:06 PM  
Blogger bankelele said...

Interesting. Technique is used to have 'token' employees or directors fronted to win minorit-targeted contracts

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Arab Gulf definitely likes white people, but their use of whites isn't the same as what they're talking about in this article. The whites in the Gulf do significantly more work than the natives. I'm not saying they do a lot, but they do significantly more. They're definitely more than just a warm body like what's talked about in the article.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

When I started my first Middle East job (in Riyadh, 16 years ago), I was initially treated like royalty (the only dude in the company who got paid every month, for one thing), and the Saudi owner of the company introduced me to his number one client (a Govt Minister) as 'genuine English'.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Silky Karma said...

apparently its happening elsewhere too ... in Malaysia, a white-guy is considered as a know-and-master-of everythg too .... share with you an experience ... came this guy, who claims he knows EVERYTHG aout radio programming biz, and his identity is proven upn checking up with few stations back in UK. So , this local station hired him for 7 TIMES MORE pay than locals whos doing more work thn this dude.
Guess what ... nobody seems to bother checking up WHY he left all those stations in UK. He was asked to leave for not knowing anythg, except sleeping with colleagues.And this was discovered by a competing radio station. imagine that!

So rent-a-white is not a wrong thing, but do make sure you wont end up in mud for it.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Oman said...

is nationality important in this - I mean Russia is on their doorstep

11:35 PM  
Blogger changee said...

Not surprising to hear thisdesert safariDriving and texting you should be considered a criminal offense, just like drunk driving.

12:14 PM  

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