China’s ‘Rent-a-Foreigner’ industry is booming

Foreigners are being hired to pose as celebrities by Chinese real estate developers to help agents sell property in “ghost towns” by making them appear more animated and worldly, according to a new mini-documentary released by the New York Times.

Thanks to China’s overzealous property development, the supply of luxury apartment complexes in some of China’s most rural areas has far exceeded demand. But that doesn’t stop the sales pitches.

The Times’ David Borenstein traveled to provincial West China where he found firms that specialized in recruiting groups of expatriates who they would then rent out to attend events, the majority of which are hosted by real estate companies.

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