China and India are two of the world's leading developing economies, both maintaining rapid GDP growth for the past few years. National prosperity has created new opportunities for local entrepreneurs, as well as Asian nationals who started businesses in the United States.
Six of the top 10 minority CEOs on the Inc. 500|5000 list are Asian: four from India, one from Taiwan, and one of Chinese descent. As the U.S. technology sector continues to grow and demand skilled workers, it is drawing from densely-populated countries whose school curriculums emphasize math, science and engineering, in turn growing the Asian population in American business.
Business services represent more than three-quarters of business sectors in the U.S. economy, and the information, communications and technology industries have been growing by double-digits for the past four years; the Bureau of Economic Analysis tracked those industries' growth at 13.2 percent last year, accounting for 3.9 percent of the economy and 22.3 percent of economic growth.
This year's Inc. 500|5000 list reflects that trend: 588 information technology companies, nearly 12 percent of the list, outnumber any other industry on the list. All six of the top Asian executives run communications or technology-related companies, and together their businesses account for over $2 billion in revenue.
Ying Lowry, Senior Economist at the Small Business Administration (SBA), says the increasing number of entrepreneurs from Asia—encompassing seven main ethnicities—is a product of successful economies interacting on a global scale: She says Asian countries' economies are booming, so more entrepreneurs from those areas come to the United States to start businesses. Their business density, the most telling method of assessing a demographics' economic impact, is increasing, as is their monetary success in America's globalized economy.
The 2006 SBA report shows that Asian-owned business density, or number of firms per 1,000 persons, since 1997 has consistently been the highest among ethnic divisions, in 2002 hitting a 95 percent density. Additionally, the SBA's 2004 personal income figures show that among self-employed Asians, 17 percent earn more than $100,000—a higher percentage than any other ethnicity in the country.
With the U.S. economy weighted toward technology, top Asian executives say they've noticed the trend. Arul Murugan is from India and in 2003 founded enrich IT, an Oracle consulting company, and says that in his business interactions, easily half of his counterparts are Indian. Enrich IT is No. 67 on the Inc. 500 list this year.
Mohan Tovorath, also from India, is CEO of mail management firm Walz Certified Mail Solutions, No. 45 on the Inc. 500, and says the Indian school system emphasizes technology in its curriculum, and since there has historically been a shortage of computer and other engineers in the United States, East Asians receive greater work visa flexibility.
The Office of Immigration Statistics shows that 6.2 percent of people who received legal permanent resident status last year were from India, second only behind Mexico. As a group, 383,508 Asians were assigned that status, the highest number of more than 1 million people from seven regions. Currently, 5.3 percent of the working population (aged 18 to 64) in the United States is Asian, and the Census Bureau anticipates that will grow to 9.6 percent by 2050.