If you’re a white male willing to travel and impersonate a business leader, there may be a lucrative “career” waiting for you in China. Becoming a fake corporate executive is an increasingly alluring option for caucasian expatriates living in China, writes freelancer Mitch Moxley, who knows from experience. Moxley was hired by a company based in Dongying, about five hours south of Beijing, as a quality control inspector. His real duty was to be the face of the company, which meant attending corporate meetings and public ceremonies in a suit and tie. He even met the city’s mayor while posing as an executive.
What’s the Big Idea?
Displaying an attractive public face is an essential business practice in China, which conforms to the society’s larger cultural practices. “Face is hugely important in China,” writes Moxley, “and having foreigners in suits I guess gives some credibility to the companies. You’d be amazed how often this happens.” Having a white man in a business suit be the company figurehead is meant to show the beneficial connections the business has with the western world. It’s an association that is all about the perceived interrelatedness of race, status, and capital among China’s business elite, and not-so-elite.