January 9, 2014

Jan. 23 Drucker Business Forum to examine the power and possibility of Asian American business

Join the Drucker School of Management and Southern California Public Radio on Thursday, Jan. 23, for a Drucker Business Forum examining the power and possibility of Asian American business.

Leading the discussion will be Dennis Huang, executive director of the Asian Business Association and a Drucker School alumnus. Huang will be joined by Gary Yamauchi, owner and president of Tri-Star Vending and city councilman in Alhambra. Josie Huang, KPPC’s immigration and emerging communities reporter, will moderate.

Over $182 million a year in sales in 600,000 businesses with 900,000 jobs created – that’s the story in California of today’s Asian Pacific Islander (API)-owned enterprise.

Nationally, not only do API-owned businesses currently generate billions of dollars in revenue, but within the next five years the Asian American population will amass nearly one trillion dollars in buying power as consumers. One trillion dollars. Where does that money go? Historically, it’s been put right back into API owned businesses and communities, but the market – and marketing – are undergoing a sea-change. Looking to expand their businesses beyond the typical Asian American consumer, entrepreneurs are expanding their reach, especially into the digital space, using multi-language and multi-cultural touch points.

While some owners look outside their community to broaden their reach and increase their profits, the community connection helps some businesses to thrive. But this closeness may also present a barrier. If business owners choose not to market to English speakers and others outside their cultural group, their customer base is narrow and expansion can be limited. For example, a recently proposed ordinance that would require all businesses to have some English lettering on their signage in the primarily Chinese neighborhood of Monterey Park was killed by the city council by taking no action. Opponents of the rule say the government shouldn’t be meddling in their businesses, while others say it’s just good business sense to use dual languages.

With increased Asian American populations across the country, high education achievement levels, and advanced use of the Internet and social media, opportunity is everywhere. How can the API business owner can make the most of it?

The Drucker Business Forum will begin at 8:30 am at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum, 474 South Raymond Ave. in Pasadena. The event is free to attend, although RSVP is required.