For most of his 30 years running a Chinese-owned company in the U.S., Ni Pin felt welcomed.

He set up auto parts maker Wanxiang America Corp. — a unit of a Chinese conglomerate founded by his late father-in-law — in Chicago back in 1994 when he was studying for a PhD.

The company came to supply parts for half of all cars made in America and employ around 10,000 people.