In the year since a massive blackout was caused by power generators going down last August 15, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin has been in the hot seat on nearly a weekly basis, addressing concerns about Taiwan’s energy transition. In spite of the host of challenges at hand, he is confident that policy objectives will be met.
Taiwan’s textile and apparel industry is taking advantage of new opportunities, since manufacturing in the United States cuts down on costly shipping time, smaller brands gain in popularity, and the global division of labor is reshuffled yet again.
Ethiopia enjoys duty-free exports to the U.S. and Europe, and as the global division of labor is redrawn, the East African nation with a population exceeding 100 million is a new land of opportunity for the Taiwanese textile and apparel industry.
Though worlds apart, Ethiopia and the United States are suddenly proven attractive to Asian producers for different reasons. This shift in the global division of labor is opening new opportunities for Taiwan’s textile and garment makers.
He has turned rice husks into clothing, and kitchen waste into business cards. From furniture at European Starbucks stores to a mobile upcycling unit on the Tibetan Plateau, he is all about exploiting the capitalist production system to make recycling sexy.
The World Cup is not just a soccer tournament, but also a technology competition. Why are the UK team’s jerseys made with looms used to knit socks? The official game balls have surface patterns that look like bug bites, and are embedded with NFC chips. Athletic shoes must be soft and pliable, but soccer cleats must be stiff, not to mention made from custom lasts. And the technology behind all this can be credited to Taiwan.
We are used to the erosion of low paid jobs.Yet new forms of technology and automation are also making more highly qualified professionals obsolete. What are the “mega-trends” in our evolving job market?
Glitzy high-tech advances often capture the spotlight in the semiconductor industry. But it has been somewhat unsung back-end innovations that have helped TSMC leave its two biggest rivals lagging behind.
The usage of robot workers continues to rise. According to a report from International Federation of Robotics, South Korea has the highest density of automation in the world. On the other hand, Taiwan ranked 4th among the Asian countries.
Platinum Optics Technology is not publicly listed and avoids attention, but it has penetrated Apple’s supply chain by mastering a niche technology. The company’s founder recently gave us a rare glimpse into how this optics upstart was built.
At the just-concluded Tokyo Motorcycle Show, Taiwan’s largest conventional scooter maker Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd (Kymco) premiered its new battery technology eco-system, called Ionex. With what it calls its “game-changing” new system, Kymco hopes to sell e-scooters made in Taiwan around the globe.
We hear the word “innovation” all the time. It has become such a buzzword that we forget what it means. For some people, innovation means building the next Facebook. For others, it’s a new way to cook an omelette. For the purposes of this article, let’s break innovation down into two general categories:
Ennoconn Corporation, a member of the Hon Hai/ Foxconn Technology Group, is steadily closing in on Taiwanese industrial computer manufacturer Advantech Co. Ltd., threatening to replace it as the global No. 1. How does Advantech plan to win this battle?
How can a player in Taiwan’s conventional paint industry establish a foot in the U.S. market? Using its unique competitive advantages, Kaohsiung-based Yung Chi Paint and Varnish is taking a three-phase approach of acquisition, expansion and localization.
Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou is pressing forward with the first 10.5-generation flat panel display plant to be built on American soil. Considering the challenges, does the gambit make strategic sense?
In late January, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. (also known as Foxconn Technology Group) convened its first-ever extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting since listing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 1991, approving the IPO of a Hon Hai subsidiary in China. With its decision, Taiwan’s largest manufacturer sounded the alarm for the currently high-flying Taiwan Stock Exchange (TAIEX).
Most consumer electronics manufacturing has moved out of Taiwan. But Hobot Technology Inc. founder George Chao may be reversing the trend with innovative, award-winning robot cleaning devices that are being made at home.
TSMC’s 86-year-old Chairman Morris Chang is vowing to make a clean break with TSMC after he retires in June. CommonWealth Magazine caught up with him to see how he feels about the company he’s built and how he thinks it will fare without him.
The rising tide of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is altering the entire landscape of production. Old types of business models, techniques and workers will be fundamentally challenged. How are different countries in the world responding to this drastic transformation?
The coming disruption of Industry 4.0, which aims to bring manufacturing back to the developed countries with technological integration, will be one of the key issues for the ASEAN region in the next five decades. How can ASEAN manage the potential impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
It's reasonable to be alert that AI and automation can eliminate jobs. However, it's also irrational not to look into the benefits and higher productivity brought along with human-machine collaboration. At certain point we will have to ask the question: Do machines necessarily have to compete with humans?
Labor groups in Taiwan have been up in arms recently over the government’s labor policy. And there’s good reason for that, argues professor Hong-zen Wang, who says that workers in Taiwan have even fewer rights than those in less-developed Vietnam.
Labor groups have long blamed Taiwan’s low wages and long working hours on exploitative employers. But in this Op-ed piece, Universal Cement Corporation Vice President Jack Hou offers a more expansive view of what the real problems are.
Former TSMC R&D executive Liang Mong-song, dubbed the biggest traitor in Taiwan’s semiconductor industry for leaking trade secrets to South Korean rival Samsung, has jumped ship again, this time taking the post of co-chief executive with China’s SMIC.
The face of TSMC for 30 years, Chairman Morris Chang, announced on Oct. 2 that he will be retiring in June 2018, and he laid out a succession plan involving “dual leadership.” Can this new model really replace the semiconductor legend?
A main highlight of Apple’s much-hyped iPhone X is its facial recognition function (Face ID). After six months of digging, CommonWealth Magazine has confirmed that Taiwan’s Himax and TSMC are the main suppliers backing this critical technology.
Foxconn’s plan to build an LCD flat panel factory in the U.S. still has to be approved by the Wisconsin State Senate. If it does go forward, what does Foxconn boss Terry Gou really want from it, and why is he seen by South Korea as its biggest threat?
TSMC alone has accounted for about a third of the increase in Taiwan’s power usage over the past five years, and a new technology is about to drive its electricity needs even higher. Can power-strapped Taiwan accommodate this semiconductor giant.
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.
Recognized as one of Taiwan’s leading practitioners of Industry 4.0, TSMC has been able to maintain its pricing power in an age of plummeting component prices. What has been its secret weapon in achieving that?
Three Cloud-based platforms keep 300,000 elevators across the globe in line. The incorporation of augmented reality places virtual over actual reality, streamlining workflow. With the Silicon Valley innovation engine powering the way, American Industry 4.0 is quietly accelerating into the passing lane.
As the late management guru Peter Drucker once said, the tools we rely on for survival today could get in the way of growth tomorrow. Constantly enhancing one’s skills and taking on all kinds of roles, “hybrid talents” are the new stars of the workplace.
Thanks to customer-oriented “pre-sales services” and strong R&D capability, Taiwan’s largest integrated steelmaker, China Steel Corporation, has doubled its profits and made inroads into the Asian market for high-end steel materials.
Largan Precision’s dominance in the high-end lens industry was confirmed when Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus ushered in the dual-lens smartphone camera era at the end of 2016. How has Largan reached this pinnacle, and where does it go from here?
Though seasonal demand for consumer electronics helps Taiwan's ailing manufacturing industry stop bleeding money for now, finding products and services that generate sustainable growth will be crucial for the future development of the manufacturing sector.
For the past nine years, Taiwan’s machinery industry has tried to break the trillion- dollar mark in terms of annual output, but so far this challenge has proven insurmountable. This year might be different. Why?
Giant Manufacturing founder and chairman King Liu has been instrumental in leading the global cycling lifestyle trend. Liu believes that if you want to win you have to anticipate trends before others, and never let the present affect your thinking about the future.
New technologies, increasing connectivity and industry convergence are rewriting the way companies do business. How do Taiwanese industry bellwethers such as TSMC, Hon Hai and President Chain Store innovate to remain relevant for decades to come?
The CommonWealth Magazine Top 2000 Survey has tracked the evolution of Taiwan’s industrial history over the past 30 years, often identifying paradigm shifts in business trends before they were obvious. Here’s a look back and forward.
While conventional industries struggle to transform themselves, emerging industries face great uncertainty. Despite a short-lived recovery, the manufacturing industry registered a 3.4 percent decline in revenue growth in 2015. However, a select few have been able to disperse the clouds in favor of sunny skies.
Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer, is close to acquiring Sharp of Japan. What is behind Hon Hai’s willingness to risk it all financially to take over the venerated but money-losing Japanese electronics giant?
The entire world is engaged in a battle for innovation and transformation supremacy. Qu Daokui, one of China's foremost robotics experts, tells CommonWealth how China will go from the world's manufacturer to a manufacturing superpower.
While rival Acer was busy acquiring companies abroad to boost market share, Asustek Computer Inc. was slimming down. It pared down its 11 business groups to just three, helping it become one of the world's top five computer brands.
When it comes to "destruction" Hon Hai has no match. The company attacked the supply chain with low prices and forced the world's top brands to cry uncle and place orders. It is now up to CEO Terry Gou to guide Hon Hai to its next breakthrough.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has used an ideal blend of technology, strategy, management and corporate governance to be a global player in the semiconductor market. Chairman Morris Chang explains how this was done.
This past June, after honing his skills quietly for over two decades, Lo Tsai-jen took over the operation of the Cheng Shin Tire empire. In the driver's seat steering the group's efforts toward internationalization, he is about to put himself to the test as CEO.
In 2013 new champions emerged in more industries than ever before. With ambition, courage, tenacity and innovation, Taiwan's new standard bearers deftly navigated rocky economic waters to sail ahead of the pack.
Growth in Taiwan's manufacturing industry has slowed, but some companies still boast revenues worth one fifth of GDP. With the law of the jungle ruling the market, how do they manage to join the ranks of the fittest?
Long the standard-bearer of the global LCD panel industry, Sharp has fallen on hard times. But it has been given new access to the global supply chain by teaming up with the Taiwan-based Hon Hai Group.
Taiwan's top-level talent is being seduced away by high pay offers, forcing the country's most admired companies to use emotional appeals to hold on to their prized executives. Is the strategy working?
Restaurateur Steve Day moves into the top ten for the first time. The list of most admired entrepreneurs is dominated by CEOs of Taiwanese brands, clearly demonstrating the ascent of Taiwan's branded businesses.
Using a groundbreaking new cooling fabric, an international undergarment brand has unveiled a new collection that's completely Made in Taiwan – from materials to R&D to production to international marketing.
Adopting public parks, conducting ecological surveys, revitalizing historical sites, caring for the elderly – one company plays a leading role in safeguarding Tainan's heritage. What are its motivations?
In CommonWealth Magazine's annual survey of Taiwan's top corporate citizens, Delta Electronics edged TSMC by the slimmest of margins for the top spot, an indication of just how fierce a battleground corporate social responsibility has become.
Last year as leading Japanese automaker Toyota plunged into crisis, South Korea's Hyundai swiftly seized the day, surging to fourth place in global rankings. This incredible "Hyundai speed" has since become the model to emulate.
Its business is hard to describe, but many petrochemical, steel and technology companies can't do without it. Advanced Control & Systems has a lock on large-scale factory upgrades, spinning a fortune out of intelligent plant service integration.
With the rise of hot money and shrewd corporate financing, Taiwan's no-frills growth model has given way to a new expansionary game of acquisition. What capabilities will companies need in order to wage battle in this new environment?
Taiwan's tech sector has recently been roiled with strife. Terry Gou and Barry Lam, Bob Tsao and K.Y. Lee... sworn partners have become completely estranged. Behind the discord lies a high-tech mid-life crisis.
With a components industry specializing in electrical machinery, Taiwan stands poised for a leading position at the heart of the rising electric vehicle industry. The next step will be independent brands and entry into new markets.
Epistar, Taiwan's largest manufacturer of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), has seen its share price rise far above its peers. Now it is boldly entering the advanced stage of competition, with its sights set on spearheading industry transition.
The Taiwanese companies with the most stellar business results are those able to grasp what consumers need, and they come from sectors as diverse as renewable energy, conventional industry, and the growing stay-at-home economy.
The Hon Hai Group was Taiwan's biggest manufacturer in 2008, but revenue growth sagged and opportunities were missed. After toying with retirement, Chairman Terry Gou is back, hoping to restore his company's aura of invincibility.
Dupont and Applied Materials have both made tangible moves suggesting considerable optimism over the prospects for solar energy development in Taiwan. With their support, the next trillion-Taiwan-dollar industry may have already been born.
In 2007 Taiwanese manufacturing rocketed with record revenues and profits, but plummeted in the final quarter, hit by the U.S. mortgage crisis and global inflation. How will it steel itself against a continuing string of challenges?
Although Taiwan's most influential entrepreneur Wang Yung-ching has passed away, he left behind a thriving petrochemical empire that will long outlive him. CommonWealth Magazine looks at his group's winning strategies.
Since the completion of Naphtha Cracker No. 6, FCFC's petrochemical business has skyrocketed, with operating revenue this year ten times the figure for 1991. Who is behind this astounding metamorphosis?
With solar energy becoming virtually the hottest money technology in China, which Taiwanese players are entering the fray in the battle to harness the sun? And which has what it takes to weather the storm?
Despite lackluster returns, Tong Yang is determinedly pouring its resources into new factories in China, with a single goal in mind: rising to the status of Tier 1 supplier for the world’s top carmakers.
Big-league industrialist turned would-be movie mogul, Terry Gou has changed. From computers and electronics, he is moving into content, and the sprawling dominion he has established in China is the key to his ascent.