'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)

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