Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Robert Neubecker About a year and a half ago, the sleepy state of South Dakota found itself rudely awoken by the global spotlight. In a filing for his Hong Kong-listed company, Sunac, Sun Hongbin, the Chinese real estate tycoon with a net worth around $10 billion, disclosed he had just transferred his shares to the South Dakota Trust Company. To the surprise of most analysts, a small, two-story brick building in downtown Sioux Falls was the proud custodian of a chunk of shares that is now worth more than $6 billion. What’s more, as Bloomberg News reported at the time, three other Chinese businessmen had moved billions to South Dakota trusts just weeks before Sun did. The incongruity was lost on no one, and many observers started to wonder what, exactly, was going on in South Dakota. Suddenly, the 97 trust companies licensed to do business in South Dakota felt the global gaze upon them. “Are people here talking about it? No,” Jason Krause, a lawyer in Sioux Falls, says of the influx oSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.