[福布斯英文版2011-2-8] 2011 China Investment Guide: How To Marry A Rich Chinese By RUSSELL FLANNERY

China’s new rich, as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley might say, are big, big, big, big, big. Investors with projects to fund want their money. Schools looking for endowment money want their children. Foreign governments want to sell them passports and residence cards.

And then there are ambitious souls looking to marry up with China’s newly well-off. Marilyn Monroe dished up lighthearted advice in the 1953 comedy,”How to Marry a Millionaire.” If you’re a gal, what’s the best approach to finding yourself in China in the admiring gaze of a Robin Li or Victor Koo (both married)? Is it better to be an er nai (concubine) or chase the fuerdai (well-off second generation)? And what are the prospects for guys in pursuit of older Chinese millionaire ladies?

We exchanged with Mina Hanbury-Tension, author of the new and coldly calculating book, “Shanghai Girls: Uncensored & Unsentimental: How to Marry Up & Stay There.” Excerpts follow.

Q. China’s rich, as Chicago Mayor Daley might say, are big, big, big, big, big. How would you categorize the burgeoning numbers of new Chinese rich to pick from?

A. One thing that’s true about all of them is that they are new money, since most of their money’s been made in the last decade or two.
There are two obvious rich types in China–the provincials and the city dwellers. The provincials have made their money doing anything as unexciting as selling livestock and frozen meat or even cheap electronics, whereas the city dwellers have made their money in manufacturing, property and investments. These two are very different–and require different tactics. Furthermore, there is a rising class of fuerdai, the second generation wealth–young men in their early to late 20s who are due to inherit their parent’s business, and have gotten used to spending a huge sum of it already. They are the ones driving around in the Maseratis and Ferraris in Beijing and Shanghai.

Q. What’s the best way to approach each group?

A. The older generation, the first generation of wealth, is all married. Most of them have second or third mistresses, or even second or third families spread out over different cities. As one billionaire property developer from Hong Kong advises: “Why would you want to marry one of these Chinese billionaires? He’ll have 10 girlfriends!” For some of them, 10 girlfriends might even be a conservative estimate.

So for ambitious girls, the only way to approach the first group is to be ultra-practical: realize you will be one of the many, if not scores, of girlfriends (think er nai, xiao san) and accept the fact that you’ll probably never dethrone that first wife, no matter how unattractive or old she may be. However, being one of the ten girlfriends has its advantages: you might get an apartment, a sports car, a credit card, and gifts of the ilk that you might not afford on your own salary.

The second generation, the youngsters, seem like great ones to nab–after all they are young and rich and drive a sports car, but in fact they are so spoiled and used to getting what they want and surrounded by starlets and flatters, and very hard to hook one’s finger into. For the fuerdai, the best bet is to befriend his parents, or his extended family, and get them to believe that you’re the perfect girl who will save him from a possibly irresponsible, dissipated life.

Q. How does trying to land a rich Chinese husband differ from other places?

A. It’s completely different here. The Chinese are very used to the idea of mistresses, and what one must do to keep them happy. The wives are also more tolerant of mistresses, and often look the other way. There is a silent code, however–you do not go in the same grounds with your mistress that you would go with your wife. This is why many of the ‘girlfriends’ often live in other cities–a business trip, combined with pleasure. So, if you’re a pretty girl and manage to get close to that billionaire, he and many of his cohorts will immediately click with the idea that you might easily become the next girlfriend. The rules are a bit more clear here: as one married Taiwanese man said about what his girlfriends expect of him: “Apartment, car, and if necessary a job.” His requirements in exchange? Simple. “She picks me up when I arrive at the airport, and spends all her time with me, and she drops me off at the airport. What she does with the rest of her time, I don’t care.”

Q. What’s the best way for a Western guy to marry up with a mainland Chinese lady?

A. This is a great, great potential area for marrying up. I know so many wealthy Chinese ladies in their forties and fifties worth a fortune, and divorced. She doesn’t need you to be rich, but she does need you have some semblance of accomplishment, i.e., degrees, suave world-wise knowledge, etc., and the devotion to cater to her needs without acting like a doormat. Remember that she will set certain traps to test whether you’re out for her money, and the key to winning the heart of she-millionaire is to pass muster.

Q. What are the risks in marrying a rich Chinese? What’s best way to avoid buyer’s remorse?

A. The risks are that he’ll have 10 girlfriends. The best way to avoid remorse of any kind is to go in with your eyes open. If you think you’re going to marry your Prince Charming and live happily ever after, then you’ll have remorse. One woman I know arrived home with her husband fresh off her honeymoon, only to find a woman with a baby waiting for him at that airport. I don’t need to tell you who was the father of that baby.

Q. Say you pull in a rich Chinese and are looking for an exit. Then what?

A. Why would you look for an exit? If you played your cards right, you should have money, status, and access to a lot of great business opportunities.

On the other hand, if it’s really not working out (there can be zillions of reasons for this), then the key is leveraging up. You should have used the opportunity to hone some skills–an additional language or two (the Chinese are very vulnerable when they go abroad so anyone who can facilitate them when they’re not on their home ground has an excellent way to worm herself into his heart, and to his wallet), horse-riding or sailing skills, or a MBA–which has exposed you to the men that you need to network with. Use those skills to leverage yourself up to the next level.

Good luck!