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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
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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