Archinect
anchor

China Project Scam?

Farleft

I'm hoping to good people of Archinect can offer some advice...Long story short...Our firm was recently contacted by a developer in China to design a 26 story office tower. They seemed legit (had a website, answered my boss' questions about the site and program in great detail, even talked to some of our Chinese MEP consultants in China)...but I was always skeptical. Now they want us to go to China to sign a contract...but they will not pay airfare or hotel expenses. They claim they will pay 30% of our fee upon signing the contract. I find this terribly suspicious, but my boss thinks this is a legitimate opportunity given his interactions with them. What do you think? Anyone else get contacted by these people? I don't want to list the name in case it is, indeed, legit.

Thanks.

 
Jun 29, 10 12:31 pm
Thom Yorke

I would trust your boss if he or she has interacted the most with them and thinks it's legit.

Jun 29, 10 12:42 pm
Larchinect

I would trust your instincts, although it seems your boss has the final say.

I had a big time land owner/developer call me through my personal/student website about doing a project. The property is right downtown and listed for $12 million. The whole time, talking with this man back and forth I had a gut feeling that something was askew.

I tried for weeks to reel him into the office. He was in LA and we're in CO. He balked at the idea of meeting on site or in person. When we finally got around to presenting him (via email) a brief letter explaining our services and fees we never heard from him again.

He was the legitimate land owner, but sort of a nutjob whom I think was looking for the classic free work. Who knows maybe we'll hear from him. That's my only anecdotal offering.

Jun 29, 10 1:43 pm
Distant Unicorn

Ask for a business registration number-- all Chinese companies are required to have a specific identifier that much be supplied when demanded by a customer or client.

To verify a business, you need to contact the local (province level) Department for Regulation of the Private Economy of the State Administration For Industry & Commerce People's Republic of China (http://www.saic.gov.cn/english/ContactUs/), an arm of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China.

From there, they will give you the appropriate contact for each provincial office where you can make verification requests of companies and individuals.

If the company or person in question is illegitimate, contact the local police authorities immediately or Department for Regulation of the Private Economy (this seems to be the only recourse other than filing a complaint through the State Administration For Industry & Commerce.)

Jun 29, 10 3:33 pm
Thom Yorke

It also wouldn't hurt to ask for a stool sample.

Jun 29, 10 3:37 pm
Farleft

Unicorn,

Thanks for the info. It really does appear to be a scam. They told us this is their first major development project, they asked us to provide the contract (rather than provide it themselves), they did not negotiate the fee or the terms of the contract, etc. I will admit their correspondence was quite elaborate and believable.

I've been searching online, and I found a scam quite similar:

[url=http://www.chinasnippets.com/2006/03/03/chinese-business-scams-china-fever/#comments
]Here[/url]

[url=http://dba-oracle.blogspot.com/2008/11/new-china-scam-travel-to-china-to-sign.html
]And Here[/url]

Needless to say, we're proceeding with caution.
Thanks again for all the info.

Jun 29, 10 3:42 pm
Farleft

Let's try those again.

Here

And Here

Jun 29, 10 3:44 pm
Thom Yorke

Wow, good find there - I'd say the boss owes you a beer.

“. . . when you come to China and the contract is signed you will be asked to give the CEO a very expensive gift and maybe also pay a vey expensive dinner, they receive Kick back from this,”

“They trapped people to pay for expensive hotel, dinner, buy gift such as paintings worth 100$ at the price 5000$ and something like that. And they get benefit from the hotel, restaurant, and the shop.

And for sure even the contract was signed, there is no follow up and nothing happens after you come back to your country. They will disappear and never answer your phone.”

Jun 29, 10 3:51 pm
phld21

That google page rank mentioned in one of the articles is pretty interesting. I'm definitely going to remember that when I'm looking at suspicious companies.

Jun 29, 10 4:23 pm
LITS4FormZ

No wonder my desk was by the front door and I had to go to every presentation...

Jun 30, 10 12:10 pm
On the fence

"It is part of what China is all about, you know," Mohieddeen said. "There is quite an elaborate fantasy world going on here where if everyone buys into it, it does not matter if it is the truth. Those kinds of experiences give me a fuller understanding of the way the culture works."

Yeah, the chinese system is bent but as long as your criminal actions get overlooked, you're all right.

Jun 30, 10 4:12 pm
LB_Architects
BUMP
Oct 13, 10 3:53 pm
mdler

their drywall sucks, too

Oct 13, 10 8:07 pm
snook_dude

BUT CHINA HIPPSTERS ARE HOT!

Oct 14, 10 8:14 am
ether

hi mdler.

Oct 14, 10 10:32 am
nypencil

Farleft:

your boss must have a connection in china. How did he have a chance to contact that developer in china? Ask your boss to have close contact with that key person.

Anyway, it is worth to try. $2500 for a trip isn't that much for a potential big project.

Oct 14, 10 12:08 pm
Doorman

(Hi all, I'm new here, but have been following this site for years.)

Don't try your luck - it's a scam!

The architecture office I work for had exactly the same offer as Farleft's. Our boss actually went to Zhengzhou to sign a contract.

Basically this is how the scam works:

First the Chinese want to negotiate on the price: they want to get few % off.
You agree on a small discount.

When it's time to sign the contract, the news is that the investment company president has accepted the original price.

The contract is signed and you get some fake jewelry as a gift.

Now the Chinese guys expect you to buy gifts with the extra money they just earned you. They also insist that gifts are important part of doing business in China. The Chinese take you to a luxury department store to get expensive gifts for the president and others - it good to have a daily limit on a credit card!

Later the Chinese have lots of problems in transferring the money abroad. They postpone the payment for couple of weeks at the time.

Finally you get an email: the president of the company has been arrested for corruption, and the firm is closed for investigation. For your own good it is best not to contact anyone anymore: you will get on a "black list" if the government learns that you have been trying to bribe officials to get a commission.


Our company has some connections in china, and therefore we thought this might have been a legit project. However, later we learned that these gangsters had just googled us.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

Oct 15, 10 5:02 am
franciscojavierdominguezrogers

Dear All

I was a victim of this nasty affairs in Kunming.

My firm was contacted to develop an Hotel. They told us we must travel to sign the contract. Then, searching its truth of this, I contacted the China Embassy and the Commerce Chamber to verify it. And they proved all was right.

I traveled to Kunming in 2017. Signed the Agreement and after that begins all the strange things.

They ask for a gift to their "riders": US$ 6000.- in cigarettes.
After that they offer us a very nice Lunch in a very good restaurant.

Since that day we are waiting the 30% payment.

Dec 8, 18 11:02 am
randomised

Which one are you in these pictures? Paying in cigarettes...sorry but I can't stop laughing. All those western architects wanting a piece of their pie, they just took advantage of your vanity and ego, must feel really stupid now.

Non Sequitur

what's the relevance of the eating gif?

randomised

Pointless gif without the recipes.

Randomised. Please be serious. Stupid? I really feel violated!

The idea to show this is warn every one this situation.

About 15 architects offices was scammed per year. Even recognized ones.

We meet with Chinese representatives in the China Embassy in Santiago. And they take two weeks to answer before the travel. And they told us all was fine and look the results.

Non Sequitur

I have a project to offer and it’ll only cost you $3000 in cigarettes. What a bargain. I’m just that kind of nice guy.

randomised

Wait, you "feel violated" by my response or by giving someone $6000 worth of lung cancer?

I use it as an idea. Not to copy. Indeed I make drawings and sketches of it before know the Liveskind idea. Any way, I delete the post in my web site to evite any suspicaces.

Randomised: Please stop bulling me. This guys abused and cheated a lot people like me. And not only architects. There are also horse breeders, football, ski, golf and sailing schools. And it is impossible from countries outside of China to detect if it is fraud or not. Since the computer barriers between China and the West do not allow it. In fact Google, WhatsApp and Facebook are blocked in China. The search engine they use is Bing.cn and the hermeticism even reaches their embassies. Then this is taken advantage of by the scammers. In addition, the amounts to be less than US $ 10,000 .- are not taken into account among the agencies that control this type of crime.

Randomised: Please stop bulling me. This guys abused and cheated a lot people like me. And not only architects. There are also horse breeders, football, ski, golf and sailing schools. And it is impossible from countries outside of China to detect if it is fraud or not. Since the computer barriers between China and the West do not allow it. In fact Google, WhatsApp and Facebook are blocked in China. The search engine they use is Bing.cn and the hermeticism even reaches their embassies. Then this is taken advantage of by the scammers. In addition, the amounts to be less than US $ 10,000 .- are not taken into account among the agencies that control this type of crime.

Well:

You may take or avoid and laugh about this nasty situation.

Since this moment I will not emit more comments.

Non Sequitur

Pointing out the obvious is not bullying. Moral of the day: stay the fuck away from China.

randomised

Francisco I didn't bully you, and you weren't abused or violated, neither by my comments or their actions. Those words should be reserved for actual abuse or the victims of sexual predators. You've been scammed. And I made a little fun of your eagerness to get scammed, that's all.


( o Y o )

As if there aren't any architects in China.

How does one go about buying $6k worth of cigarettes? Double Happiness or Marlboro?

Agree with random. Stupid gwailou.

Dec 9, 18 9:39 am
88Buildings

They called my office too to do a 5 star hotel at Kunming. They said they want 10% kick back from the fees paid to a bank in Hong Kong or Singapore. Since we had never done a 5 Star hotel so I got suspicious and asked a friend in China to check it out.Helater told me it was a scam.Their business address was at a slum.

archiwutm8

Why would you think giving 6k in cigs would be a good idea? I'm baffled how someone is scanned by this. The only people who can really design in China are really staritects, it looks good on the developer to get a big shot name. 


I would avoid doing business in China full stop unless I had a office there.

Dec 10, 18 6:42 am

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: