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China's private security firms flex their muscles

Reporter: Martina Fuchs 丨 CCTV.com

02-04-2016 07:37 BJT

China’s rich are not only increasingly protecting their financial assets, but also their bodies. The growing number of high net-worth individuals in the country has opened the market for more private security firms and bodyguards.

You don't mess around with these guys. They are taking courses to become bodyguards.

This training center - located in a Beijing suburb and established in 2011 - is the brainchild of Xin Yang, a former Chinese military martial arts instructor. 

"At the International Security Defense College we offer three kinds of training. The first is police and counter terrorism courses. Apart from this, we also have bodyguard training. The third one is civil safety courses, which includes how to deal with natural disasters, and incidents such as like terrorist attacks. We usually provide these three types of training," said Xin Yang, President of International Security Defense College.

The private security and bodyguard business is booming in China.

Billionaires, millionaires, and powerful business people need more and more protection, and sometimes, the personal bodyguards serve as a symbol of their status and prestige.

Private security firms were only made legal under Chinese law in 2010. With more than 4 million millionaires in China today - ranking second in the world behind the United States - cash rich entrepreneurs, movie stars, and other members of the elite have started to hire private bodyguards.

And there is plenty of room for growth in the sector.

Today, there are about 6,000 licensed security companies in the country, with as many as 4.3 million security agents, and annual industry-wide revenues estimated at about 40 billion yuan, or 6.2 billion US dollars. (GRAPHICS)

"The Chinese security industry is gradually developing, especially the security protection for VIPs and the bodyguard business. The industry is still at an initial stage. We are providing professional security training for security firms across China. We also offer special courses to professional bodyguards depending on their qualifications and their responsibilities," Xin said.

Xin's clients include government officials, big companies, VIP guests visiting China, and the country's ultra-rich.

This is the training site of yet another company, Bojing Security Agency, on the outskirts of Beijing.

Here, the agents focus on hand combat rather than firearms training, kickboxing, tactical driving, and martial arts.

As a foreigner, I'm not allowed to enter the area as it is a military zone.

"The demand for private security and bodyguards is increasing with China's economic growth. Private security agents and bodyguards step in where the police falls short. We protect people before something happens, and the police deals with an incident after it occurs. Our job reduces the workload of the police. The potential of this industry is huge, professional bodyguards are badly needed. So we supply professional bodyguards for the benefit of society," said Shi Xingfeng, President of Bojing Security Agency.

Generally speaking China is a safe country and violent crime is comparatively rare, mostly because access to guns is very difficult. Bodyguard

But things get more dangerous, the richer you get.

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