It’s curious that the Chinese, who are usually not afraid of conspicuous consumption, have until recently been hesitant to hire bodyguards, rejecting the practice as showy. But now more and more of the country’s well-heeled are conscious of the security risks they face and are demanding professional protection.

Overall the Chinese continue to have a very poor awareness of their safety. Many only decide to hire bodyguards after having run into trouble.

Usually they have already encountered a real security problem in general verbal abuse, but sometimes even physical confrontations, before thinking about hiring bodyguards.

The latest example is Zong Qinghou, China’s beverage tycoon and the 86th-richest man in the world, according to Forbes’ Global Rich List. He was attacked walking out of his own house and injured by someone who had asked him for a job. In most cases in China the perpetrators are not professionals, and if these entrepreneurs had a bit more awareness of safety issues, the tragedies wouldn’t have occurred.

Concern for personal safety is climbing now that China has more wealthy individuals than ever. Most entrepreneurs are also concerned with the safety of their families and properties.

After an initial risk assessment, usually a team of five to eight security personnel is dispatched – some specialize in anti-kidnapping, anti-tracking or target control. Some body guards are disguised as chauffeurs or secretaries to avoid the appearance of conspicuous consumption that comes with having a highly visible professional security detail.

In China, many rich people are reluctant to hire bodyguards because they believe that it is showing off. They also worry about privacy.

Many industry leaders prefer retiring police and soldiers as these groups possess high military qualities and can adapt themselves to the work rapidly, but it takes more than that. What a bodyguard requires most is intelligence. Knowing how to fight doesn’t make you a bodyguard. Far from it. Knowing how to identify a threat and avoid it is the intelligent and professional solution.

(This is an extract from an article in the International Business Times)!