Against the advice of many, Jack Perkowski (MBA 1973) ditched his high-flying investment career and relocated to China in 1992 to build his own company. Through trial and error, Perkowski learned that the key to its success was in hiring young mainland Chinese with modern management training and experience who were open to new ideas.
A self-confessed “blank slate” upon his arrival—he had never been to China and didn’t speak Chinese—Perkowski used $150 million in US investor capital to launch ASIMCO, an auto parts manufacturing business, in 1994. By cobbling together a network of factories and hiring more than 50 “New China” managers, Perkowski grew his company into $500 million ASIMCO Technologies, twice named one of the Best Employers in China.
Known by the moniker “Mr. China,” Perkowski retired from ASIMCO in 2009 and subsequently opened JFP Holdings, a Beijing-based merchant bank that is assisting global companies with their China strategies and helping Chinese companies create their own global footprints.
“Even though China is now the second-largest economy in the world, it’s very embryonic,” he says. “The reason I’m still here is that it’s very much a work in progress.”