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Chinese tycoon invites 1000 impoverished Americans to have lunch with him in New York in an attempt to show fellow tycoons that there is more to life than “luxury goods, gambling and prostitution”

Chinese tycoon invites 1000 impoverished Americans to have lunch with him in New York

June 19, 2014

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Tom Phillips

Chinese billionaire philanthropist Chen Guangbiao, whose previous media stunts include bottling clean air and selling it to highlight China’s pollution problems. Photo: Yuan Jianmin

A Chinese billionaire has announced plans to invite 1000 impoverished Americans for a meal in New York’s Central Park in an attempt to show fellow tycoons that there is more to life than “luxury goods, gambling and prostitution”.

Chen Guangbiao, a recycling magnate from the eastern province of Jiangsu, issued the invitation to his “charity luncheon for 1000 poor and destitute Americans” through two prominent advertisements placed in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal this week. Guests will be given $US300 ($319) to spend on “occupational training” as well as lunch at the Loeb Boathouse restaurant in Manhattan’s Central Park.

All they do is splurge on luxury goods, gambling and prostitution and very few of them sincerely live up to their social responsibility.  

The restaurant, which featured in the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, describes itself as “the ultimate urban oasis” and “a haven for romantics and nature lovers”.

Mr Chen said he hoped that the lunch, which he expected to cost about $US1 million, would boost relations between China and the US and change perceptions of wealthy Chinese.

“I want to spread the message in the US that there are good philanthropists in China and not all are crazy spenders on luxury goods,” he told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post on Wednesday.

The tycoon, whose past stunts include selling canned air to raise awareness of pollution and smashing a Mercedes Benz to draw attention to global warming, also hoped to serve as a role model for Chinese billionaires.

He said: “There are many wealthy Chinese billionaires but most of them gained their wealth from market speculation and colluding with government officials while destroying the environment.

“I can’t bear the sight of it, because all they do is splurge on luxury goods, gambling and prostitution and very few of them sincerely live up to their social responsibility.”

It was not immediately clear whether Mr Chen’s guests would be offered a set menu at the Central Park feast or be allowed to choose from the restaurant’s a la carte lunch menu, which features dishes such as Lemon-Oregano Crusted Salmon and Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi with Tobiko Caviar and Jalapeno Wasabi Vinaigrette.

In a 2010 interview with The Telegraph, Mr Chen said he hoped to build a “charity army” of wealthy Chinese business people who would pump large chunks of their profits back into society.

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About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (www.moatreport.com), a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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