For rent in China: White people
Chinese companies hire white people to portray executives or clients
Often hired in second-tier Chinese cities to impress clients and officials
Usually out-of-work models and actors, or English teachers, are hired for these jobs.
Known by local actors as "White Guy Window Dressing" or a "Face Job"
Beijing, China (CNN)
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.
"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.
Last year, Jonathan Zatkin, an American actor who lives in Beijing, posed as the vice president of an Italian jewelry company that had, allegedly, been in a partnership with a Chinese jewelry chain for a decade.
Zatkin was paid 2,000 yuan (about $300) to fly, along with a couple of Russian models, to a small city in the central province of Henan where he delivered a speech for the grand opening ceremony of a jewelry store there.
"I was up on stage with the mayor of the town, and I made a speech about how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years and how we were so proud of all of the work they had done for us in China," Zatkin said. "They put up a big bandstand and the whole town was there and some other local muckety-mucks."
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.
Those who go for such gigs tend to be unemployed actors or models, part-time English teachers or other expats looking to earn a few extra bucks.