Wanxiang America Corp., a Chinese auto parts maker, won the bid for A123 Systems Inc. at a bankruptcy auction early today, according to a story that WSJ broke from a source familiar with the matter. A123 Systems, a U.S. car battery maker and a grant receiver of $250 millions from the Department of Energy in 2009, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in October of this year.
The controversy of the deal, other than a foreign firm purchasing a U.S. company, is that A123 Systems also has contracts to produce high power batteries and other products for the U.S. military. The deal is still yet up to the approval of the court, so there is still a chance it will fall through and become the Oregon wind farm story all over again.
Wangxiang America Corp. is the U.S. part of Wanxiang Group, which headquarters in Zhejiang Province, China. Its board Chairman, Lu Guanqiu, is No.33 on the Forbes Mainland China Rich List. Lu grew up in a impoverished family and had to drop out of middle school at the age of 15. The first attempt of entrepreneurship was during the time he was an ironsmith after he dropped out of school. Lu noticed that farmers in his village had to carry their crop for miles to town to have it grinded. So Lu used all his savings, 3000 RMB, to purchase a couple crop grinding machines and set up his own crop processing shop right in the village. Lu later, with a few friends and co-workers, bought a factory that was on the edge of bankruptcy and turned it around to a successful auto parts producer, and much much later, became the largest auto parts maker in China.
Lu attended Zhejiang University for MBA classes and later became a part-time professor of this now first ranking, then third ranking University in China. I attended Zhejiang University for a year and half before transferring to the University of Missouri, so maybe at some point, I was on the same campus with Lu, which makes me appreciate how the world is full of little surprises 🙂