Forbes 30 Under 30: Meet The Young Asian Immigrants Making Waves In America

November 15, 2017

By Rana Wehbe, Forbes |

If the Forbes 30 Under 30 list proves anything — it is that ambition, achievement and success know no age, gender or nationality. It comes as no surprise then that 19% of those who made the U.S. list this year were immigrants who were born outside the country and come from as many as 50 countries.

And out of that 19 %, more than half were born in Asia. 36 Chinese and 19 Indians feature on the prestigious list which aims to highlight 600 of America’s young entrepreneurs and disruptors across 20 industries.

Their fields are as diverse as their backgrounds — ranging from science and healthcare to tech, venture capital and even Hollywood and entertainment.

Take for instance Peter Yang, the 29-year-old cofounder of Pokéworks, whose family emigrated from China and settled in San Diego when he was 6-years-old and whose first job was a drive-through attendant at a burger joint. Today, the University of California graduate’s business, which serves poké bowls and sushi burritos, hopes to make $15 million in revenue this year from 13 locations across America and Canada with an ambition to reach 100 stores by 2020.

Another immigrant making waves is India-born Rupi Kaur, the 25-year-old author and poet whose worldwide Instagram fame rivals that of celebrities due to her sharable ‘millennial-friendly’ poetry suited for the digital age. Kaur’s first book, Milk and Honey, has sold over 2.5 million copies in 25 languages and spent 77 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List while her latest book Sun and Her Flowers, which explores her Punjabi-Canadian heritage, reached the top three on Amazon’s bestseller list, along with Dan Brown and Oprah Winfrey. Kaur featured in this year’s Media category on the 30 Under 30 list

In the Hollywood & Entertainment category, featuring the likes of Zoe Kravitz and Hailee Steinfield, Kaitlyn Yang stands out. The 25-year-old’s family emigrated to the U.S. from China when she was nine. In the same year, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, which leaves her wheelchair-bound. A graduate of USC’s animation program, Yang founded her own post-production company, Alpha Studios, in 2013 and has more than 40 credits to her name, including “Robot Chicken” and “Falling Skies.”

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