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GOLDSEA 100
AMERICA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL
ASIAN ENTREPRENEURS


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AMERICA'S 100 TOP
ASIAN ENTREPRENEURS

he entrepreneurs selected for this year's GoldSea 100 are living proof that the American dream has lost none of its vitality as we approach the new milennium. In fact, we think it offers more promise than ever to those Asian Americans willing to risk a regular paycheck to chart an independent course in the savage seas of business. The stats bear us out. The average age of our 100 has dropped to 49, three years lower than it was just two years ago. And it now includes six billionaires, double the number of our last list. Among them is a 32-year-old who also happens to be the youngest entrepreneur ever to make the top 10.
    Other stats shed light on which industries have provided the best opportunities for enterprising Asian Americans. Though the technology sector accounts for less than a fifth of the U.S. economy, it produced three-quarters of our selectees. For a snapshot of which way the tech sector is shifting, consider that five of the top twenty have made their marks with products and services based primarily on software though, of course, there is a software component to virtually any piece of computer hardware and vice-versa.
    In terms of industries, fashion came in a distant second, producing five top-100 entrepreneurs. That's followed by biotech with four and finance with three. Other represented industries include real estate, retailing, auto dealerships and the media.


METHODOLOGY

    The men and women on the Goldsea 100 were chosen from among the eighty thousand Asian entrepreneurs actively conducting business in the United States. We used data from three financial reporting agencies to establish the universe of candidates and check it against lists from prior years. We narrowed our review to about one thousand known Asian-run businesses with estimated annual revenues of at least eight million dollars. Of those we weeded out companies no longer under the direct control of an Asian American CEO. That meant excluding subsidiaries or operating units of foreign-based companies. We also excluded companies in which the Asian American CEO had played no role in founding or reviving the business. In other words, the GoldSea 100 consciously omits the hundreds of talented Asian American CEOs who run businesses for the benefit of non-Asian American owners. In many cases we were dealing with private companies for which public data doesn't exist and we had to rely on media accounts and information provided by the subjects.

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    Trying to assign numerical rankings was trickier than culling qualifying entrepreneurs from the American business universe. We applied eight factors -- annual revenues, profitability, percentage of equity owned, number of employees, market valuation in the case of public companies, impact on the industry, revenue growth, and prospects for future success. For example, an entrepreneur who controls and owns 100% of an innovative, fast-growing company with $50-million annual revenues and a 20% pretax profit margin was ranked higher than one who owns 15% of a company that sells $500 million worth of commodities and earns a 2% pretax profit margin. In assessing the relative importance of businesses, we focused on their value-added component. For example, a PC distributor with $500 million sales was less significant economically than a software developer selling $200 million, given the great disparity in gross profit margins between those two sectors.
    Despite our best efforts at diligence, our list isn't perfect. A few worthy entrepreneurs may have been omitted and one or two may not have been included in a perfect world. On the other hand, we are confident that most such errors will be corrected in the course of our monthly updates based on newly available information or changing conditions. If you have information to improve its accuracy, contact us.

GOLDSEA 100

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