David Ji and Ancle Hsu: Founders of Apex Digital

Their upstart electronics firm is headed for $1 billion in sales--and Ji still scrubs the rest room

There was a time, only about 15 years ago, when David Ji, co-founder of Apex Digital, the top-selling maker and importer of DVD players, couldn't rent a movie. When he was a graduate student and part-time house painter, Ji says, "I wanted a VCR, but I couldn't afford to buy one."

Until recently, many Americans felt the same way about a DVD player. The digital successor to the VCR was a luxury item, costing hundreds of dollars on average. But that was before Ji, 50, and his partner, Ancle Hsu, 41, burst into the home-electronics market. Since Apex introduced its first...

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