Taiwan’s Most Admired Entrepreneurs list affirms country’s soft power as Cher Wang joins the Top 10

By David Huang

That women have taken their place at the top echelon of Taiwanese business is now an undeniable fact. For the first time in the 16 years since its inception, a woman has broken into the top ranks of CommonWealth Magazine’s annual survey of “Taiwan’s Most Admired Entrepreneurs.” That woman is Cher Wang, the driving force behind two of Taiwan’s priciest and most profitable stocks, first with chip designer VIA Technologies Inc. and now with smartphone maker HTC Corp., both of which have prompted serious notice of Taiwan’s technology sector internationally. Upon hearing of Wang’s breaking into the prestigious top ten Most Admired list, Chunghwa Telecom chairman and CEO Shyue-ching Lu responded: “That’s marvelous. My congratulations to her.” With the advent of the smartphone era, Lu is in frequent personal contact with Wang and husband Wen-chi Chen as a result of cooperative business arrangements. During leisure hours, Wang and Chen will also head over to Chunghwa Telecom’s tennis courts for a little tennis with Lu.

“She’s extremely open-minded,” Lu says. Indeed, according to the results of the mutual evaluations among Taiwan’s business executives, in terms of “visionary strategic thinking and capacity for innovation,” Wang scored 91 points, second only to Mediatek chairman Ming-kai Tsai’s 96, as the Taiwanese business community publicly acknowledged them as the two entrepreneurs in Taiwan most capable of innovation. Flexible Management to Steer a Global Workforce Wang is adept at using a global workforce, and currently one in every ten HTC employees is non-Taiwanese. Ralph Liu, Trend Micro’s former Asia-Pacific regional president and current president and managing partner for Green and Associates Management Consulting Co., Ltd., has in-depth experience in employing a foreign workforce. Absent a mature, comprehensive management system, one simply cannot employ so many foreign workers, Liu says.

“You might not even know where to find the talent, how much to pay them or how to balance discrepancies in compensation between foreign and Taiwanese workers,” Liu says. Flexibility and a market-competitive compensation system are a key reason behind HTC’s success. As HTC software engineer Peng Hsiang-yuan notes in a corporate testimonial, at HTC one can relax and focus on work without worrying about anything, as HTC is a company that’s willing to share profits with employees.