Business & Technology

Pin Ni

The Chinese boss who turns around U.S. companies.

President, Wanxiang America Corp.

Illinois-based Wanxiang America may have a Chinese name, but according to its president, Pin Ni, it’s a company planted in “U.S. soil with U.S. sunshine and U.S. water [that] grew up to be a big apple tree.” In 1994, Ni left the University of Kentucky, where he was studying economics, to start the company with his own money and support from the Wanxiang Group, a huge Chinese automotive components manufacturer and now a global investor. Now Wanxiang America is worth billions, has over 10,000 employees, and has acquired more than 20 American companies.

Ni’s approach: find struggling American firms, scoop them up, then stabilize them. For example, Wanxiang acquired bankrupt electric carmaker Fisker Automotive in 2014, built an assembly plant in Southern California, and by late 2016 had re-developed the company’s once-infamous signature offering into a car that actually works. Chinese acquisitions of U.S. companies may sound scary, but as Ni likes to point out, they also can save hundreds of jobs.

(Photo credit: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images)

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