EB5 Investors Magazine | Page 69

Gary Dong by EB5 Investors Magazine Staff The EB-5 program’s popularity has exploded in China in recent years, and it continues to be one of the easier options for potential Chinese immigrants. Meanwhile, developers and regional centers in the United States constantly seek strategies to market their projects to Chinese investors. Migration agents play an important role in the process of raising EB-5 funds in China. EB5 Investors Magazine is proud to interview Gary Dong, CEO of Wonderful (Shenzhen) International Economy and Culture Exchange Ltd. With more than 15 years of experiences in providing immigration and overseas education services, Dong also serves as the Vice Chairman in Guangdong Entry & Exit Immigration Association, where he coordinates with different parties to protect the long-term development of the immigration industry in Guangdong. In this exclusive interview, Dong shares his stories of starting his business as well as his project selection criteria. EB5 Investors Magazine: Please introduce your professional background and Wonderful International’s businesses scope. First of all, how did you get into the immigration industry? Gary Dong: After earning my bachelor’s degree in tourism studies, I started working for a travel agency in Shenzhen. In 1993, I moved to Hong Kong to work on managing high-end business trips for Chinese people. That was when I began familiarizing myself with immigration and overseas education fields. China’s immigration industry was very fragile in the early 1990s, so the people interested in immigrating were more comfortable hiring immigration agencies in Hong Kong. I was assigned to operate a new travel agency in Hong Kong back then. Meanwhile, I also helped many potential migrants get in touch with quality agents. At that time, Canada’s skilled worker immigration program was the most popular option and the denial rate for the EB-5 program was much higher than it is now. In 1997 I realized that there is a great market for immigration. I decided to quit my job, move back to Shenzhen and start my own company—Wonderful International. Since then, I have been deeply involved in this industry. Our headquar- ters are in Shenzhen, but we also have a branch company in Shanxi City and are considering opening new offices in other provinces/cities. Immigration consulting services would never be our only product. For most of our clients, education for their children is always the biggest concern. That is one of the reasons for us to maintain the overseas study consulting service. Besides, we also provide training services and plan on establishing an international school in Shenzhen. From the company’s perspective, operation in multiple lines improves our ability to adjust to risks. After all, the immigration industry is vulnerable to economic and political changes. As an immigration company, immigration will always be our biggest focus. We serve more than 100 customers for immigration every year. We also help people immigrate to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Central America. EB5 Investors Magazine: Why did you set the branch office in Shanxi? Gary Dong: The main reason is that I am from Shanxi. About two years ago, I realized that more and more Shanxi residents are paying attention to immigration, and some have already got started with the immigration process. Moreover, Shanxi has been plagued by corruption in recent years, so we think more and more Shanxi residents would be interested in immigration. EB5 Investors Magazine: From your research, people from which provinces/cities in China have the strongest interest in im