NANJING- Day Seven of our EB-5 marketing trip to China and Vietnam has us dividing and conquering: Sharon is closing deals in Guangzhou while I flew ahead to Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province and inventors of paper money, to train our collaborating team for Thursday's big Lake Point EB-5 seminar. Seems they are still quite busy making money in China, paper and otherwise: we've enrolled 9 of our 20 EB-5 investor slots for Lake Point EcoVentures during our first week here!
There is one reason for this mind-bending success, and her name is Sharon Shi, plain and simple. The past week has had us visiting the creme de la creme of Chinese agents, those princes revealed through Sharon's seven months of frog-kissing in 2010. Our princely welcome and open doors are the result of much effort on her part last year, and as I sit writing this in City #4, I am humbled when I reflect on the 40+ cities she traversed in search of the best possible network of EB-5 immigration agents.
Like me, Sharon is a believer in "people" versus "paper", and the agencies with which we are collaborating range in EB-5 experience from novice to seasoned veterans. Some are venturing into EB-5 for the first time; others are asking me to dissect and opine on competing projects they are considering, delving into technical minutiae which far exceeds the understanding of many immigration attorneys who are suddenly "EB-5 attorneys" (cheap but warranted shot (-;). What these agencies all have in common is a deep concern over the misleading marketing utilized by many EB-5 projects, the questionable job creation rationales, and the breathtaking ambition of megaprojects which really can't even break ground until the 40th EB-5 investor has had his or her I-526 approved. These good folks have come to understand that it is indeed possible make a nice EB-5 living while still protecting the interests of your clients.
Small wonder that we are being grilled with very savvy questions and I find myself reaching out to Scott Barnhart to explain some rather esoteric econometric concepts. Sharon has brought us to a very special group of folks who, after the contracts are signed, after the last Peking Duck pancake has been consumed, want to sleep at night knowing that they've selected the very best EB-5 project they could to both assure permanent residency for the client...and avoid squandering $500,000 on a dead-end deal.
Remember this, folks: the days of "Well, I'm never going to get a penny back on my investment but at least I'll get the I-829 approved" are HISTORY as of 2010. There are but a handful of select projects -- all loan based, with fixed exit strategies, and all carefully structured to protect the interests of the investors entrusting them with their money -- who can get you to America in one piece.