Rong, a second-year student at USC, rents an office in a downtown skyscraper, spends weekends in his family’s 5,900-square-foot house in Newport Beach and, depending on his mood, drives a Bentley Continental GT, a Rolls Royce Phantom, a Porsche Turbo Cayenne, a Cadillac, a Mercedes or a Range Rover — a fleet he keeps parked around town, some in spaces that go for up to ,400 a year at the downtown Los Angeles high-rise where he has his apartment.He freely identifies as Five thousand dollars in cash fluttered over the dance floor at Lure, a Hollywood nightclub, like overpriced confetti. His video of that night in 2014 shows dancers ignoring the thumping bass beat, crawling after bills and leaping to snatch money from the air.
Prime Union members, Rong said, didn’t need to wait for acceptance and respect — they could buy it, and they could buy the clubs that wouldn’t admit them, and throw parties where Chinese guys get all the girls.
Their slogan reflected an almost nationalist ethos: “You were born differently.
But so are the odds of a 22-year-old USC student launching a successful startup.
To win at anything, Rong believes, you must gamble. symbolize the values lost in the modernizing country’s mad dash for economic growth — diligence, humility and restraint.
Rudy Rong took a seat at a table in the Commerce Casino’s poker hall, his legs jigging with nervous energy.
The 22-year-old son of Chinese video game billionaires hadn’t come here to gamble.
Rong was launching a virtual reality startup, and he had arrived hours earlier to videotape a musical performance in the casino’s ballroom for an investor demo.
But as Ping An, a pop star and former contestant in the singing show Voice of China, took the mic, Rong grew anxious, left the camera running onstage and retreated downstairs to the poker tables.
Rumors of wild orgies in coastal cities periodically surface through Weibo, China’s Twitter.
And in Los Angeles, where many rich Chinese families send their kids to school, an 18-year-old UC Irvine student from China was arrested in Malibu after leading police on a 122 mph chase across the city in a BMW 750i, unaware that he was being pursued. There’s widespread concern in China that wealth is warping the social compass, said Xiaofei Li, a political science professor at York College of Pennsylvania.
When police responded to reports of underage drinking, Rong and his friends rented two buses and moved the festivities down the street to Cosmo, where, he says, actors James Franco and Seth Rogen made an appearance.