Other than having a presentation with complete documentation (which you already know you must have), there are several other critical points you must understand before you can successfully approach Chinese students with proposals for your EB-5 projects.
Many Chinese students fear speaking out to or with Americans. Some of them are that way because of the culturally-instilled fear of causing “remafan.” We would call it “getting into trouble.” Their fear of speaking freely could stem from political, cultural, or even familial customs. It’s not important that you know why they are fearful. In fact, if you try to probe, it is likely that they will draw even further into their shell. What is important is that you understand that they may be fearful.
All Chinese Are Not Alike
One particularly astute student at the University of Illinois described how not all Chinese students are alike. Zhou Yeran places his fellow students in one of three distinct groups, although they all generally share a disdain for Americans due to having “fundamentally different values, norms and worldviews.”
The first type he describes is the hermit. This student is withdrawn from everyone. Typically this is a young person who has spent a decade in the Chinese educational system, which breeds this lifestyle through its heavy emphasis on rote memorization. Some of these students may not even want to be studying in the U.S., but are here because they have failed Chinese educational entrance exams.
The second group, and perhaps the largest, is those who come from well todo families. As Zhou describes it, they are here for the benefits and diversions. They have the wherewithal to easily afford their educations, and they have the desire to acquire. These are the students who are most likely to travel, purchase material goods, and flaunt their wealth. They tend to flock together and, as a group, exhibit a greater desire to socialize, albeit still mostly among themselves.
The third type Zhou describes as rare, having himself met only one or two of this classification himself. These are the ones who are highly goal-oriented, viewing obtaining a solid education as a stepping stone to greater success down the road. You’ll need a lot of luck and probably a bit of divine providence to find these golden nuggets, but it’s likely that the search will reap great rewards.
A common trait among all three groups is that they tend to view Americans who are trying to help them as condescending. That might technically describe what you are trying to do, but you cannot afford to appear so.
An Undeniable Fact
It is estimated that 90% of all Chinese students gained entrance into the U.S. based on falsified recommendations. If you are a Chinese Agency reading this, you should not feel insulted. That statistic comes from a study conducted by Zinch China. The facts are what they are. Furthermore, 70% are believed tohave had other people write their “personal” essays, “50% submitted forged high school transcripts, and 10% listed academic awards and achievements they did not receive.” The Zinch study concluded that the “tide of application fraud,” as they describe it, is not expected to abate, but will worsen in subsequent years.
We are obviously not advising you not to deal with Chinese students. We are advising you to understand the mindset of the people who are the potential path to your EB-5 project.
Another Undeniable Fact
The Chinese already know that a number of American EB-5 projects have been shams. We need to take some of the blame for their skepticism as well. Google “EB-5 scams.” You will get 245,000 results in 0.32 seconds. For this reason alone, you should expect a healthy dose of distance and doubt when you first approach Chinese students from families with high net worth.
Therefore, as we said at the beginning of this section and in the previous chapter, you must have an abundance of documented, factual and verifiable information about your project and its chances for success. You must not hedge or fudge. You must be perfectly open and honest and must provide full disclosure regarding all particulars regarding yourself, your firm, and your project.
Hide In Plain Sight
If there is any single piece of advice that is worth the price of this book, you are about to read it. The best approach to Chinese students has not even been mentioned yet. You need to make contact with Chinese students who are already here on an EB-5 visa. Here are a few of reasons why this may be the wisest path to take.
- The families of these students probably placed the cart properly behind the horse. Obtaining residency with an EB-5 visa before attending university means that the student does not have to pay the same ultra-high tuition that his Chinese counterparts do.
- These students understand the benefits and the machinations of what got them here. They will be much more approachable. But why approach them?
- They like what the EB-5 program has done for them.
- They will willingly introduce you to their Chinese friends. They are exponentially much more likely to do so than others. They will do a lot of the heavy plowing for you. You can follow behind sowing the seeds.
- They probably have more than one friend who would be interested.
Someone once said, “If you want to get the gold, you’ve got to go where it is.” The question then becomes, “Who is going to show me where the gold is?” You can be almost certain that Chinese students who arrived by EB-5 before enrolling in college know exactly where it is. Find them, ask them, and let them lead you to it.
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