In addition to attempting to contact HNWI Chinese citizens about your EB-5
projects, it is sometimes easier to contact children of wealth.Working
through the children, you can reach their parents, other relatives and close
family friends. Keep in mind that Chinese traditionally prefer direct contact
as the best form of communication.
Social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Twitter have
registered a large online presence among Chinese young people. However, not
all Chinese citizens like to use Western social media, because they have their
own. According to Go Globexxv, a much greater percentage of Chinese have
social media accounts than Americans. An estimated 91 percent of Chinese
citizens have social media accounts compared to 67 percent of Americans.
There are four Chinese sites that are similar to Facebook: Kaixin, Renren,
Tencent's Pengyou and Tencent's QZone. Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo
largely resemble Twitter, while WeChat is a knockoff of WhatsApp. (It may be
significant to the EB-5 business to know that Sina Weibo is now accessible
through Facebook.) xxvi According to TechInAsia xxvii, the number of Chinese
social media users increased by 60 percent in 2012. Many Chinese people are
registered with LinkedIn. Placing sponsored ads about your EB-5 project on
these sites is a good way to tap into the young, wealthy Chinese market.
Knowing that China has its own social media sites is well and good, but it is
hardly of much value in and of itself. You need to know which ones are the
best and most appropriate for your business as opposed to sites that are
visited for idle chat.
Just in case you are not yet “into” social media marketing, we advise that
you catch the boat before it leaves you behind. Social media is not a slow
boat to you-know-where. In fact, here’s a bit of social media trivia that you
probably did not know. Facebook and Google+ are the two leading social
media sites in the world. That’s probably not a surprise, but this will be: of
the world’s top ten sites, six out of the remaining eight are Chinese. That
ought to give you a good idea of where your audience can be found with the
least amount of initial effort and expense.
At this time - we don’t have to tell you how rapidly things can change in
cyberspace - Qzone is probably the best functional site for promoting business
in China.xxviii It has over 600 million registered users. Its page customization tools
are excellent for branding, and it offers you the ability to create an exclusive
microsite where you can promote your firm and your EB-5 projects.
Sina Weibo is weak in one area. It has a 140-word limit, which is why we say that
it is much like Twitter, which has a 140 character limit. Twitter may be interesting
in other ways, but it is not designed for promoting business. On the other hand,
if you can figure out a unique way to present yourself and your projects
consistently within the word limit, the site demographics tend to be white collar
workers and celebrities. Great audience, wrong auditorium. Nonetheless, it is
fair to assume that Sina Weibo users also use other social media sites, so a
combined site campaign might be especially fruitful. Build a business microsite
in Qzone and use Sina Weibo to point potential clients to it.
RenRen is a Chinese site that resembles Facebook in its layout and
formatting. The problem here is that you should not let the Facebook-like
presentation mislead you. It has only about 137 million registered users.
Since we are talking about registered users, even if only one-third of Qzone
registered users are active users, you would still be reaching 50% more
people than you would through RenRen. Now, here comes the curve ball. If
you have an account with Hootsuite, you can access RenRen and Sina Weibo
through you Hootsuite account. There will probably be more of that type of
collaborative activity on the way. But why wait?
There is one more social-media insight that I would like to share. A study of
Weibo, Facebook, and Twitter users revealed a few amazing statistics.xxix
Facebook and Twitter users were far more likely to respond to TV advertising
(54.8% and 71.9% respectively) than Weibo users (37.0%). By contrast,
Weibo users were much more likely to seek out products and services
through the Internet or their cellular devices. Ninety-one percent of Weibo
users search for goods and services via the Internet.In addition, the longterm goal of Weibo’s marketing is brand building.
The Chinese may not be able to use Facebook in China, but Mark
Zuckerberg’s social media marketing machine is accessible to Chinese
students in the U.S. And they do use it. Facebook’s advertising revenues
increased by 61% to $1.6 billion in the first half of 2013.xxx
Wealthy Chinese students in U.S. universities and colleges are easier to
contact than those who are already running their family businesses.
Therefore, focusing on universities, which Chinese students are attending, is
a wise decision. Many other students visit universities on tours and exchange
programs. It is possible to gain access to a large network of Chinese students
through travel Agencies and student exchange programs.
Chinese students at foreign universities usually form student community
groups and associations. If you establish contact with these associations,
finding Chinese students should be fairly easy. It’s a good idea to focus on a
student leader. If approached correctly, he will work to convince others to
consider what you have to offer. Young wealthy Chinese students will listen
more readily to their fellow Chinese speaker promoting an EB-5 project,
rather than a U.S. national. This is a common practice among foreigners in
any country, but particularly so with the Chinese.
Selling an EB-5 project idea to young Chinese people of wealth requires a good
sense of timing as well. Consider promoting your project to these students
while they are new on campus and their parents have not yet travelled back
to Mainland China. This will give them, and you, the opportunity to discuss the
project face-to-face, the older generation’s preferred method of
communication. Determining the best timing may give you a competitive
edge. Keep in mind, however, that you are asking them to consider substantial
financial decisions. Anyone who is going to invest $500,000 - even the superrich - is not going to do so without a considerable amount of due diligence.
Approaching too quickly can often send signals of a scam.There are some young Chinese real estate investors in the U.S. Some of them
came as university students while others live in Mainland China but have real
property in the United States. Such young people, who have already invested
in the U.S., should be willing and ready to see your EB-5 project site. If you
promote the project when family members are together, the amount of time
for them to determine their interest should effectively be shorter.Good preparation, including anticipating questions and having facts in hand to
answer them, is an absolute necessity. Strive for a complete presentation that
addresses all possible questions before they are asked. It is your project. You
must, therefore, be the authoritative voice of the project. It all boils down to
this: the better the presentation, the better the expectations. No one, Chinese
or anyone else, is going to hand over half-a-million dollars or more if they do
not trust you. They will trust you when you give them irrefutable facts.
Once you've established contact with young Chinese, you should stay in touch
with them. Even if they don’t accept your project initially, they are still a contact
within a social network. The second best thing to having a good customer is
having a good contact.
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