Stanley Zhou

Stanley Zhou believes Michigan and China have a bright future together – and he wants to help build it. Zhou, a native of Shanghai, moved to Detroit in 1997. Today he is president of the Troy based American Aligned Automotive Production Corp., which he founded in 2003 to capitalize on his automotive expertise and connections in the two countries. “China and the United States are two big countries – one the largest developed country, one the largest developing country,” he says. “There is a tremendous opportunity in the 21st century. I wanted to be a bridge.” Zhou got his start in the auto industry in 1989, working with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., one of China’s largest companies. In 1997, SAIC sent him to Detroit to set up an office. A few years later Zhou decided to strike out on his own, using his contacts and experience in China to help Michigan businesses grow opportunities in his home country. AAAPC business includes a joint venture with Uniseal, an OEM supplier to General Motors and Volkswagen. Materials are produced here, then shipped to China. Zhou employees 11 people in Troy and 75 in China; revenues grew 60 percent from 2009-2010. “The exciting news is China’s automotive is growing very fast,” he says. “It gives us a lot of opportunity here.” Zhou and his family are happy to have made Michigan their permanent home, he says. His daughter is a ninth-grader at Cranbrook Kingswood, and Zhou has become passionate about creating educational opportunities in Michigan for Chinese students. He’s met with leaders of Novi, Oakland Intermediate and Bloomfield Hills school districts, along with investors, to look for opportunities to create programming to lure students from his homeland. “I have a lot of customers who want their kids to go to school in Michigan,” he says. “Chinese students here, they encourage their parents to invest and emigrate. The immigrants who come here are very well educated people, they have good skills in engineering and technology. This is very helpful for Michigan. “The parents come here, can make us more entrepreneurial, start a business here,” he adds. “Their kids can get a good education and start their careers here. They can drive the future, create a lot of job opportunities. Like me.”

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