An eccentric Chinese billionaire who has become notorious for madcap publicity stunts has taken out a full-page advert in the New York Times to invite 1 000 poor Americans to lunch.

Chen Guangbiao, a recycling magnate best known in the US for his over-the-top business card and a failed attempt to buy the New York Times, created a bilingual ad that appeared on Monday extending an invitation to low-income people to dine with him at the high-end Boat House Restaurant in Central Park on June 25. The generous tycoon also promised to hand out $300 (R3 231) in cash to each participant of his charity event.

“I hope they can spend the money on occupational training and know there are no religious or ethnic boundaries when it comes to charity,” he told South China Morning Post.

In the ad, the billionaire said that his goal was to change Americans’ negative perception of members of China’s elite as “crazy” and obsessed with material goods. “I want to spread the message that there are good philanthropists in China and not all are crazy spenders on luxury goods.”

Chen added that his other goal was to set an example for his less-than-scrupulous fellow one-percenters, encouraging them to become involved in philanthropy instead of splurging on luxuries, gambling and prostitution.

During the luncheon, he is expected to entertain his guests with his rendition of We Are The World performed in English. – Daily Mail