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'China's Market Bigger Than We Think'

Jack Perkowski, author of Managing the Dragon, discusses business strategy at the Asia Society. (Elsa Ruiz/Asia Society)
by Stephanie Valera
6 October 2008

NEW YORK – If you’re thinking of breaking into the Chinese market, Jack Perkowski
might just be the perfect man to go for guidance. In 1994, with no
prior experience of working in the country, Perkowski moved to China
and built an automobile components business from scratch. His company,
ASIMCO Technologies, would become a major player in China’s booming
automotive business.

At a recent discussion of his new book Managing the Dragon: How I'm Building a Billion Dollar Business in China
at the Asia Society, Perkowski provided insights into successfully
navigating the challenges of global management and finance in one of
the world’s largest economies.

According to Perkowski, the
key to effectively cutting costs and achieving the highest profits is
to understand the lower cost perspective that drive the Chinese
consumer markets. He emphasized the use of the "100 dollar bill vs. the
100 yuan note" analogy—understanding that the value of 100 yuan in
China equals the value of a $100 note in the US.

Despite the cultural differences and a bureaucratic economy, Perkowski
stressed that the most important strategy for long-term success in
China is to be competitive by hiring local labor, and applying the
Chinese price perspective. He further reinforced four lessons: the
Chinese market is “bigger than we think,” fast-growing, highly
competitive, and very price-conscious. These unique circumstances drive
China to produce cheaper and innovative products that meet the needs of
1.3 billion Chinese consumers.

Reported by Yoshie Ito, Asia Society New York