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Promised Land

More and more American entrepreneurs are embarking on the road to China—and many have already found their fortunes.

This story appears in the January 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Robert Kushner, founder and managing director of Pacific China Industries Ltd., a 15-person company that develops and manufactures novelties in China, hardly seems like a typical American businessperson prospecting for gold in the Middle Kingdom. His Hong Kong office is crammed full of tchotchke products-dancing rock stars to mount on dashboards, collapsible corkscrews, sunglasses holders-that seem far from the high-tech exports increasingly flowing out of Chinese factories. He is not part of a massive corporation like GM or Wal-Mart, multinationals that claim to be best positioned to take advantage of China's size. He did not enter China with a bang, the type of showstopping debut some corporations think necessary to impress Beijing officials. He does not possess a strategic vision of the People's Republic's future. No, all Kushner does is make money.

"We have been able to establish ourselves as consistently profitable," Kushner says. "I could have hardly imagined when I left my Los Angeles law job in 1994 and washed up in Hong Kong that, eight years later, I'd be making products sold at most major U.S. retailers."

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