Jack Perkowski is the chairman and chief executive officer of ASIMCO Technologies, one of the most important players in China's automotive components industry. He founded the company in February 1994, after spending three years investigating opportunities in Asia and China and before others recognized the significant role that China would play in the global economy. With seventeen factories in eight provinces and fifty-two sales offices located in every corner of the country, ASIMCO Technologies is unique because it functions as a foreign-invested company built to specifically to serve the Chinese market. Under Perkowski's leadership, ASIMCO has gained a reputation for developing local management and integrating a broad-based China operation into the global economy. In 2005, ASIMCO was named one of the "Ten Best Employers in China," ranking third in a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates and 21st-Century Business Herald.
Jack’s new book Managing the Dragon: How I’m Building a Billion Dollar Business in China (Crown Business; March 18, 2008) discusses Jack’s experiences building ASIMCO from the ground up and the lessons he learned in developing the company’s local management team. The book also covers a wide range of topics such as decentralization; China’s different cost perspective and how it creates two markets for any product; intellectual property concerns; and practical advice on how to start a business in the country.
Jack Perkowski: Well I have a blog, and I’ve actually written quite a bit on this because, if the US in capital markets in terms of sophistication are 10, China is a 2. Okay? So, China’s got a long way to go. The capital markets in China are like when I went on Wall Street in 1973, they’re about as developed as that was. Okay? So, that’s a negative in one sense. But I think that China can learn a lot from what’s happened over the last 10 days, 2 years, whatever you want to, whatever time frame you want to pick, because the US market has gotten so sophisticated, so big, so complicated, and now everybody is scratching their heads and say, “Hey, how do we regulate this? How do we control it? How do we prevent this from happening again?”
This gives China a gigantic opportunity to look at all those, what everybody’s going to be analyzing and studying about this whole crisis. And then, think themselves about how they then go about the process of taking their capital markets up the curve.
So in many ways, being the second or the last kid on the block is a lot of times an advantage because you get to kind of see where everybody else has gone through and kind of learn from their experience. And I think that that China will be well-served to really look very, very hard and really try to understand how these all happened. And then, to think about in the context to China and what that means for how China’s capital market should develop.
Recorded on: September 22, 2008