Thirty years ago, Taiwan sent a team overseas to study semiconductors and recruited Morris Chang back to the country. Can history repeat itself? Taiwan is hoping it can to reverse its brain drain, but the government and private sector need to step up.
“I hope that the people that come here can find inspiration for their lives at Eslite.” This quote from Eslite founder Robert Wu, who passed away in Taipei on July 20, made a lasting impression on Cloud Gate Dance Theatre founder Lin Hwai-min. In the article below, Lin explains his appreciation for Wu and his commitment to creating Taiwan’s premiere bookstore experience.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises have been instrumental in making Taiwan a key link in the global manufacturing network. These invisible champions developed an industry model unique to Taiwan, making their products indispensable.
Software has taken over the global electronics sector, leaving Taiwan’s hardware makers in a bind. But Quanta Computer has embraced a new path that builds on its past, as Quanta Chairman Barry Lam explains.
Before sentenced for "inciting subversion of state power" by the Chinese government, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, wrote down the piece "I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement" as a final defense for his action."I look forward to [the day] when my country is a land with freedom of expression," he wrote. He also expressed his anticipation, "I hope that I will be the last victim of China's endless literary inquisitions and that from now on no one will be incriminated because of speech."
Twenty years after its handover to China from British rule, Hong Kong’s sense of identity remains in flux. Jasper Tsang and Martin Lee, two seasoned politicians from opposing camps, discuss what’s next for the territory.
The shadows of successive food safety scandals continue to cast a pall over Taiwanese consumers. At a time when government regulation has proved inadequate and even top brands have faltered, how should Taiwan go about addressing the issue?
The Taiwan Lettuce Village’s modern practices are redefining how to grow, harvest and store fresh produce. After conquering Taiwan, the company’s iceberg lettuce is now making waves on the global stage.
Bestselling author of “Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?”, philosopher, & professor at Harvard University, Michael Sandel, gives a keynote speech at the Fulbright Thought Leader Forum in Taiwan on 6/2. He talks about "Leadership and Ethics" in the 21st century.
According to Bureau of Energy Director-General Lin Chuan-neng, while working toward the goal of a nuclear-free Taiwan, equal attention must be paid to ensuring a stable power supply and low greenhouse gas emissions.
Taiwan has never had a more industry-oriented science and technology minister. Chen Liang-gee is the most aggressive government official when it comes to investing in artificial intelligence (AI). What does he have in mind? The following are excerpts from our exclusive interview with Chen, in his own words:
Chef André from Restaurant ANDRÉ, one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, chef Daniel Humm and manager Will Guidara from the Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park have an astounding cooking trio together, creating one of the most sensational dining experience ever.
Each day our world is constantly changing and becomes more competitive. Good leaders brings their teams toward progress and success. However, what does it really mean to be a good leader? World-class author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek might have an answer.
Tai Tzu-ying has become Taiwan’s first-ever female badminton player to be ranked No. 1 in the world. How did Tai get there and does she have what it takes to stay on top, considering her fear of the limelight?
She saw her business go from profitable to hemorrhaging money in the blink of an eye. Scarred by the global financial crisis and a misguided investment strategy, she clawed back to breaking even, meanwhile learning to recognize her weaknesses and stop trying to do everything herself.
Growing up, she dreamt of becoming a knight in shining armor defending the weak and downtrodden. As an adult, she worked to save mold maker Chaheng Precision Co. Ltd. from bankruptcy, transforming the conventional company into a Tier-1 supplier for the world’s leading aircraft makers.
Angela Duckworth is an American psychologist, best selling author and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research shows that the key to excellence is not about talent but 'grit'. In an interview with CommonWealth Magazine, Prof. Duckworth shares her insights about the idea of 'grit'.
Faced with criticism over the introduction of a new workweek system under the revised Labor Standards Act, Hsieh Chien-chien, Director of Department of Labor Standards and Equal Employment in the Ministry of Labor, says the aim of the amendment was to create a legal basis for a five-day workweek for all. Following are the excerpts from our interview:
For many years, Trend Micro founder Steve Chang was caught in the rat race running his very successful company. But he decided to get out soon after turning 50 to devote himself to more charitable pursuits and has not looked back.
Japanese billionaire Soichiro Fukutake, known for the company behind the animated tiger cub Shimajiro, and for the Setouchi Triennale international art festival, which has generated tourism for several islands in the Seto Inland Sea, will share his experiences at the upcoming CommonWealth Economic Forum.
Fleur Pellerin has overcome both racism and sexism to find success in con-servative French political and business circles. At the invitation of Common-Wealth Magazine, she will make her first visit to Taiwan in January to take part in the 2017 CommonWealth Economic Forum.
Film director Wei Te-sheng has turned his hand to making a musical. Featuring original songs and lyrics, 52Hz, I Love You is a film that awakens the ears, gets the heart pumping, and is sure to warm your heart.
Premier Lin Chuan’s approval ratings have plummeted in his six months in office. But in an interview with CommonWealth Magazine, he insists he will remain focused on addressing Taiwan’s problems and let others worry about the polls.
Taiwan is littered with factories operating illegally on land not zoned for industrial use. The government has put Minister without Portfolio Chang Jing-sen on the problem, and he shares his plans in this interview with CommonWealth Magazine.
A society news story has become a Taiwanese road movie in the hands of film director Chung Mong-hong, an auteur who breathes life into the frustrations of everyday characters, transforming them into Taiwan’s most authentic landscape.
Tens of thousands of factories have been built illegally on farmland in Taiwan. While manufacturers hope to see these operations made legal, others fear that such moves would encourage the illegal occupation and destruction of farmland, jeopardizing the nation’s food safety.
Stanford University is renowned for its innovate approach to learning. One of its top educators insists that liberal arts and the humanities are key to higher education, even in this digital age, but admits to still figuring out how to best get the message across.
Taiwan desperately needs a new wave of digital talent to cope with the increasing use of digital tools throughout the country’s economy. Universities have done a poor job in preparing this talent, but a revolution is underway to change that.
At first glance, Chinese literature and information engineering seem to be worlds apart. Nevertheless, National Taiwan University (NTU) is planning to bridge the gap with an innovative “Computer Science Plus” project.
TSMC Chairman Morris Chang, one of Taiwan’s most respected business people, opens up in this interview with CommonWealth Magazine about the future of the high-tech and semiconductor sectors and the state of labor-management relations in Taiwan.
Sharp’s first foreign president, Tai Jeng-wu, has brought a sense of urgency to the money-losing Japanese electronics giant, insisting that pressure is necessary to foster growth. He explains his strategy in this interview with CommonWealth Magazine.
After over two decades of silently pioneering modern spatial design in rural Taiwan, FieldOffice Architects are drawing international attention this month, becoming the first Taiwanese architectural bureau to showcase their work in Europe.
Already at the top of the film world, why does director Ang Lee still insist on doing things others won’t? As the first to adopt the 3D, 4K, 120fps format, what sort of experience will he give the audience?
Having gone to China for the huge market, only to move the production line back to Taiwan, Victor Sports found that only a racquet designed and produced in Taiwan could topple the industry leader. From Taiwan to Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia, many national team players are now sporting Victor’s distinctive corporate logo.
Global makers are using 3D printers to reach for their dreams, and helping them do it is global market share leader, the New Kinpo Group. New Kinpo President Simon Shen is leading the company along an unorthodox road to sustain its past success.
As the proving ground for the government’s Multi-Star Project, National Tsing Hua University continues its admissions reform measures, taking just 30 percent of its students via examination. The institution believes that the solutions of the future will not be found in standardized tests.
As a community high school in a fairly remote part of Taiwan, Mailiao High School should be struggling to survive. Instead, it is thriving by helping meeting the diverse needs of all of its students rather than focusing solely on getting them into college.
The “Island Puzzle” created by OBL Taiwan co-founder Tsai Sheng-da has raised awareness of the relationship between people and nature but even more importantly injected new life into Taiwan’s aboriginal villages.
Top female executive Chang Shu-mei, founder and chairperson of electronic components maker Jess-Link Products Co., Ltd. (JPC), devotes much of her time lending financial and emotional support to women who want to start their own businesses.
Taiwanese architect Hsieh Ying-chun has developed inexpensive, easy-to-build homes that have helped rebuild communities in Taiwan hit by disaster. He’s now hoping they can house refugees across the globe.
A veteran in his field, notable for designing visual identities for major TV stations worldwide, JL Design founder Johnason Lo has identified a suitable niche for Taiwanese design in the Chinese-speaking world.
Borden Tseng has been highly acclaimed internationally for designs that have brought a cool vibe to Taiwan’s sometimes drab public projects. He now hopes to reverse the negative stereotype associated with social housing.
Passionate about calligraphy and its charm her entire life, Tong Yang-tze has set out to help the younger generation appreciate the beauty of written characters and transform their contours into a unique Taiwanese treasure.
The daughter of a veteran soldier from China and an Indonesian-Chinese mother, Chen Yu-chin used her writing to define herself in a way that transcends established labels, paving the way for others in Taiwan with atypical family backgrounds to freely define themselves.
Audrey Tang will soon become Taiwan’s youngest Cabinet minister when she starts as minister without portfolio on Oct. 1 to lead open government initiatives. Describing herself as a “connector,” she is uniquely qualified to play this role. Here’s her story.
New Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun is an advocate of Taiwanese subjective consciousness. How does she plan to handle cross-strait cultural exchanges given that China balks at any assertion of the Taiwanese cultural element?
Local produce and meat featured high at the inaugural banquet of President Tsai Ing-wen in a clear signal that food safety will be at the top of her agenda. "Happy Pig" from a family farm in rural Yunlin County in central Taiwan was one of the featured homegrown ingredients.
For a company, profits and investments are like the black and white stones in the traditional game of Go. Which move should be made in the current situation? There is no harm in listening to what artificial intelligence has to say.
Few people know that famous fashion designer Jason Wu has a brother who brings his creative streak to a much less glamorous industry – hog farming. Together with creative marketer Toshio Oh, Kevin Wu turned the company's meat processing facility into a place where visitors can experience the new values of Taiwan's agricultural business community.
Starting in Hungary, DFO International founder Meimei Ding skillfully employed the latest Western fashion business model to boldly take on the China market, establishing herself as a successful entrepreneur bridging Europe and Asia in just two years.
Taiwan native Chih-han Yu is building a business that applies artificial intelligence to online advertising solutions and in the process destroying the myth that Taiwan may not be a good environment for startup companies.
Dr. Colin Soskolne, renowned international epidemiology authority and a strong advocate of public policy formulation on contagious diseases based on solid scientific data, recently toured the contaminated Mailiao region during a visit to Taiwan. He then compiled his recommendations for addressing industrial pollution and policy formulation.
Although Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu is one of Taiwan’s brightest female political stars, she does not the like the fuss over female politicians. She says she has never been discriminated against or treated differently during her entire career for being a woman.
In the traditionally testosterone-laden world of commercial aircraft maintenance, a young lady from a family with deep ties to aviation has distinguished herself with her deep passion for airplanes and attentive devotion to her work.
Taiwanese pop diva Jolin Tsai once obsessed over everything said about her and her love ballads, but she has since matured and is now more confident, to the point of taking on such social issues as gender equality.
The world has entered a “she” era now that women no longer doubt themselves but hold their heads high, breaking into once-male domains. We are going to see an age of female leadership as “soft power” becomes more important.
Taiwanese manga creator Ponjea, the first non-Japanese cartoonist to have a short manga published in Japan’s most influential manga periodical, is stunning fellow artists and manga lovers alike not only with his high-quality manga but also his productivity.
Taiwanese table tennis veteran Chuang Chih-yuan is still going strong at age 34, rare for an Asian player. Still full of competitive juices, Chuang is preparing for one last shot at an Olympic medal in August.
Eliana Kuo, one of only a handful of Taiwanese who have built careers in the fashion mecca of Milan, has gained valuable insights into the inner workings of the European fashion industry. Now she hopes to help Asian fashion designers bring their labels to Europe.
Respectful and rebellious, yet seasoned beyond her years, Athena Chuang went to Milan to pursue fashion, with the goal of eventually founding her own brand. Now she has turned her unexpected homecoming into a new venture.
Jamie Wei Huang quickly learned after arriving in London that there was nothing soft about fashion. But she has persevered and developed a distinctive style playing on materials and silhouettes that has won her an increasingly sizable following.
Taiwanese avant-garde fashion designer Johan Ku, who debuted on the international fashion stage in New York and studied in London, decided to build his label from Asia, designing his collections in Taiwan and launching them in Tokyo. His haute couture and ready-to-wear lines are now available at his first flagship store in Taipei.
Having worked hard to build his own Shao Yen fashion brand in London over the past five years, Yilan native Shao Yen Chen found that life as a designer can be tough, even if you garner widespread acclaim.
From anonymous art school student to rising fashion icon, Taiwanese designer Apu Jan is a calm force at the center of a colorful creative storm. Not yet 30, he works tag-team across continents to produce visually pleasing designs with an intellectual flair.
Retirement is not an end, but the beginning of the pursuit of dreams. Former National Taiwan Ocean University professor Su Tar-zen is helping young, old, and wheelchair-bound people to pursue grand ocean dreams via kayak.
Even as the world stage beckons, suspicions of ties to China's princelings lurk behind the scenes. Why did Peter Chou, the former CEO of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, decide to join Digital Domain, a Hollywood-based, Hong Kong-listed special effects company?
Taiwan’s national health insurance system has been praised for providing affordable health care, including by keeping drug costs in check. But the relentless emphasis on driving prices lower has begun to show some unwelcome side effects.
PTT was just the first stop on a magical software journey that has taken him to Microsoft, big data and even artificial intelligence. Currently working in the U.S., Ethan Tu is looking forward to the day when he harnesses Taiwan's "software power."
By insisting on the principle of "agricultural land solely for agricultural use," Taiwan could crack down on the rampant diversion of farmland, thus preventing a national food crisis and the destruction of our environment.
The late Y. C. Lo helped persuade Philips to invest in fledgling TSMC, advice that earned the electronics giant NT$600 billion on a NT$2 billion investment. Though Lo worked for a foreign company, he made major contributions to Taiwan's economy his entire life.
Who says economic and development and the environment must always be at odds? After being re-elected last October Boris Palmer, mayor of the German city of Tübingen, is out to prove that the future is green.
More frequent droughts and reservoirs with shrinking capacity mean constant water shortages in Taiwan. An integrated approach outlined in a national drought management policy is needed to deal with this threat.
Taiwanese companies hoping to make big money by mining big data lack the method and direction to do so. Alibaba Group Vice President Che Pinjue, who heads the group's Big Data Committee and wrote The Business Revolution: Big Data, shares his experience.
Named a Top 100 Global Innovator by Thomson Reuters, the Industrial Technology Research Institute's (ITRI) capabilities have won great acclaim. Yet for the elephant that is ITRI to take off and fly, it must innovate more and faster.
Venture capitalist Kai-fu Lee believes the new wave of startups by young entrepreneurs will disrupt established business models, and he argues in this interview that the power of youth should be feared and respected.
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel shares his desires and disappointments, his views on business, religion and the future of mankind, as well as his interest in the pursuit of immortality in this extensive interview.
Jonathan Franzen is known for taking on Twitter and Facebook and lamenting how reading is becoming a lost art. In this exclusive interview, Franzen talks about how reading and literature have an important role in the new digital era.
Never bashful about voicing an opinion, ex-Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai defends her performance in office, upbraids Taiwanese society for its impatience, and talks about the big generational challenge Taiwan is facing.
CommonWealth Magazine talked to Takeshi Kaneshiro when he returned to his native Taiwan recently to promote his latest film. Out of the limelight, Kaneshiro is very different from his melancholic heartthrob on-screen persona.
Ko Wen-je was elected as Taipei mayor by promising to be a different kind of city leader. In an interview with CommonWealth Magazine, he expressed the desire to change the way city residents think as much as changing the face of the city.
Tainan Mayor William Lai says the recent local elections represent a turning point in Taiwan politics and may show greater acceptance for his brand of understated governance that focuses closely on people's needs.
Few trials in life are more difficult than saying goodbye to a loved one. Oftentimes a prolonged illness devoid of hope for a turnaround is harder on the living than the dying, and when nature gains the upper hand, not knowing when to let go only results in lasting regret.
Can items removed from shelves save the store's entire electricity costs? Can unappealing fruits and veggies add value? Environmentally- and consumer-friendly approaches can be profitable, as initiatives undertaken by French, British, and German supermarkets have proven.
Food industry veteran Charles Han sees the sector's recent problems in part as the result of negative market forces squeezing producers. His company has sidestepped the turmoil by forged its own "blue ocean."
Amid a spate of food scandals that has people fuming at the government for lax oversight, one food industry kingpin says in an interview with CommonWealth Magazine that it's up to the industry itself to clean up its act.
The private sector is coming under increased pressure to play a greater role in strengthening society and helping raise up the weakest elements. In Taiwan, TSMC CEO Morris Chang is leading by example and helping build a brighter future for all.
Taiwan's food industry is reeling from a series of edible oil problems uncovered in the past two months. The country's new health minister, Chiang Been-huang, explains how he will try to get it back on track.
When prominent Chinese American historian and Sinologist Yu Ying-shih was in Taiwan in mid-September to collect the Tang Prize for Sinology, he had a clear message for Taiwan's intellectuals: be advocates for those in need.
Cheng Shin Rubber's new chairman, Lo Tsai-jen, is determined to sustain the "quality first" emphasis of his father, with a modern twist. In an interview with CommonWealth Magazine, Lo reveals his vision of the company.
Known for co-founding the popular social networking site Wretch.cc, Lin "Light" Hung-chuan now helps others realize ventures whose time has come. He may look like a rebel but is actually as accommodating as anybody.
Are Chinese tourists and casinos the only hope for prosperity on offshore islands? Relying solely on their distinctive natural landscapes and resources, Taiwan's smaller islands have what it takes to lure backpackers from around the world.
China policy has been seen as the Democratic Progressive Party's Achilles' heel in national elections. How does DPP chairwoman and likely 2016 presidential nominee Tsai Ing-wen intend to overcome the doubts?
Concerned about his native Taiwan's obscurity, an MIT graduate launched an online platform that shares the overseas experiences of Taiwanese, showcases the island's talent and encourages more young people to go abroad.
Talent is deciding countries' fates in today's globalized world. That means trouble for Taiwan, which is hurting on the population, manpower and talent fronts and does not seem to have anybody stepping up to deal with the challenges.
Taiwan is facing the potential collapse of its talent pool and could face the most serious talent shortage of any country in the world by 2021. What can it do to fend off raids from other countries and get back in the talent game?
With the touch of a smartphone screen, the people of China can hail a cab, make a dinner reservation, or invest in stocks. With 500 million mobile Internet users, China's retail giants, real and virtual alike, are scrambling to stake their claim.
Soon Taiwanese consumers will be able to pay for a wide array of goods and services with nothing but a mobile phone. Traditional banks and new nonbanking enterprises are all scrambling to become Taiwan's PayPal or Alipay.
With a vast network of free trade agreements, South Korea's trade volume has surpassed Taiwan's by leaps and bounds. Yet its society is polarized by a widening wealth gap. What lessons can Taiwan learn?
Women care about their looks – that's what makes skin care recession-proof. The Dr. Wu brand has been growing in popularity since it launched more than a decade ago. Now, foreign investors have been knocking on its doors.
Kaohsiung's once drab harbor area is teeming with creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, as a number of gaming software and entertainment industry companies have moved their R&D centers to the city's blue waterfront.
In this exclusive interview senior media commentator Sisy Chen considers how the Taiwanese, despite their disenchantment with politics, are taking the future into their own hands, building strong grassroots forces in society.
Faced with stagnant or even declining pay, ordinary Taiwanese find it hard to move forward, and so does national competitiveness. As the global economy begins to rebound, only enterprises that invest in their workforce will prevail.
Uni-President Enterprises and its many affiliates have more influence over the daily lives of Taiwanese consumers than any other conglomerate. How will things change under the leadership of new chairman Alex Lo?
Instead of moving production overseas, many Taiwanese SMEs are boldly creating new business opportunities through innovation. Here are some of the "hidden champions" finding surprising new niches in conventional industries.
Education experts from around the globe are flocking to Shanghai to find out why China's largest city has emerged as a world leader in quality school education. But they haven't any magic secrets behind the "Shanghai miracle."
S.F. Express controls 70 percent of the cross-strait logistics business. Originally billed as a "Hong Kong-invested firm," it has quietly become a quasi-State Owned Enterprise of China. Has the invasion begun?
Biomedical R&D is like a relay race that begins with great ideas and courage. Yue-Teh Jang chose to concentrate on the front end of the development chain – the riskiest area – to nurture good ideas into medical equipment that helps society.
Steven Chang's CID Group has been Taiwan's most successful venture capital firm for nearly a decade. As he looks to the future, what are his latest strategies, and what investment opportunities does he see in Taiwan?
Taiwan's recently concluded service trade pact with China has yielded its first fruit – a free trade agreement with New Zealand. Yet Taiwan could lag behind regional competitors like China and Korea in sealing similar deals.
The more effort she puts into quality teaching, the less time she has to cram for her own exams, and the slimmer her chances of ever getting a full-time position. An inside look at the travails of Taiwan's temp teacher work force.
In a merciless race for permanent jobs, Taiwan's teachers find themselves sitting for one exam after another. Island-wide, 130,000 certified teachers are vying for official positions, and only 44 percent will find one.
No longer content producing low-end remedies, Sinphar is moving away from contract manufacturing toward brand-name products. Chairman Tim Lee is seizing the initiative in developing new breast cancer drugs.
Making pretty designs is not difficult; making them good and inexpensive is an art. For 70 years the world's biggest furniture brand has been surprising consumers with sensible, stylish designs created within strict limitations.
With a population of just eight million, Israel boasts 64 companies on Nasdaq. How has tiny Israel become one of the world's leading havens of innovation? What can Taiwan learn from Israel? And how are the two nations joining forces?
The Taiwanese love affair with all things Japanese has spread to the drugstore market, where Japan Medical is heating up the fray with health products and cosmetics once completely unavailable on Taiwan's shelves.
The elite among Japan's SMEs are flocking to Taiwan in record numbers, viewing the island, with its Japanophile population and its knack at doing business in China, as the perfect hub for overseas expansion.
Suhon Lin, the founder of Taiwan's most profitable privately held company has always scorned such corporate status symbols as a personal assistant, chauffeur or bodyguards, but refuses to scrimp when it comes to R&D.
"The non-professional has to work the hardest." What creativity requires most is not inspiration but discipline, like bestselling author Giddens Ko, who continually challenges himself with extreme rules.
What makes a "10Xer" – an individual or enterprise that surpasses the competition by an order of magnitude? Which Taiwanese companies have attained the traits to succeed spectacularly in the face of adversity?
At a recent national industrial development conference, organizers pushed through a raft of recommendations amidst cries of objections. But the media buried the true story with hype, and the public blissfully ignored it.
Just a freshman in junior high, his father ill with cancer and mother afflicted with depression, he takes care of his family. Unbowed by classmates’ derisive comments, he finds strength in the words and deeds of his parents.
The call of new markets, emerging technologies, the need to constantly keep abreast with a world that never pauses – one of the world's foremost business consultants shares his views on the current, shifting paradigm.
In this exclusive interview, Citi's executive in charge of emerging markets offers a cautious forecast for the global economy, and considers five transformational concepts that are set to reshape our world.
In this exclusive interview Harvard University professor Michael Sandel reveals the story behind his personal romance with politics, and his passion for re-establishing a place for ethics in public discourse.