Global CEO Clubs, the Beijing-based spin-off of the Chief Executive Officers Club of the United States, has recruited as a representative Alan Greenspan, formerly the chairman of the US Federal Reserve and now an economic adviser on the global consultancy circuit. By inviting Mr Greenspan to host a series of seminars this spring, the non-profit organisation expects to boost membership significantly among mainland company heads, from the current level of about 2,000. Members will be allowed to 'raise any sensitive questions' with Mr Greenspan in a series of seminars to be held on the mainland this spring, said Global CEO Clubs founder and chairman Joe Mancuso, who also founded the original US fraternity some 30 years ago. The ultimate objective of the seminars is 'to attract more Chinese CEOs and create mutual benefits for Chinese and US companies,' he said. 'When making a business deal in China, we may have to deal with at least five middlemen, who are not always helpful but sometimes take money and screw things up,' Mr Mancuso said. 'But if CEOs meet directly, companies can do business more economically and more efficiently.' Bridging the cultural divide is one objective for opening the mainland chapter of this business fraternity. 'In the US, when we arrange 12 CEOs to sit at a table, they will tell each other the truth. But when we do the same thing in China, the Chinese only share good news and not their problems,' said Global CEO Clubs chief executive Li Jingping. 'We hope a mix of American and Chinese CEOs at a round table can change the situation.' Founded by Mr Mancuso, a writer and lecturer of business topics, as the CEO Club in Massachusetts in 1977, the organisation added a more international moniker (Global CEO Clubs) for its mainland launch in 2002. The organisation has chapters in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shenyang and Dalian in Liaoning province, Qingdao, Kunming and Xian in Shaanxi province. Mr Mancuso said membership growth on the mainland could help raise understanding among Americans about the fast-growing economy. Some members started out small: Mr Mancuso recalled that Steve Case, founder of America Online (later known as AOL) could not even afford to make the membership fee in a single payment. 'He paid US$600 first, then another US$600 two months later.' But after five years, Mr Case had built his company into a multibillion-dollar internet and media enterprise. In the US, the average annual sales of member companies is US$20 million, ten times that of the minimum requirement of US$2 million. On the mainland, the minimum requirement to join the club is 10 million yuan in annual sales or investments. Largely because it generates investment leads, the organisation has been received well by officials at both the central and provincial levels. In 2005, it took 217 overseas CEOs to Beijing to meet senior state and city officials. Last April, 20 US CEOs visited other cities, including Changchun in Jilin province, Nanjing, Suzhou, and Yangzhou in Jiangsu province. However, the organisation faces competition from the Young Entrepreneurs' Organisation (YEO) and the Youth Presidents' Organisation (YPO). Established in 1950, the YPO counts among its members such renowned individuals as former General Electric chief Jack Welch and investment guru Warren Buffet. In 1998, it launched MyYPO, an online social networking platform, to bring members' family members online. Last year, its membership doubled to 20,000 following a major thrust on the mainland. The YEO, founded in 1987, targets members under 40 years of age. It has about 40,000 members worldwide.