A Party for AmCham’s 67th Birthday 

More than 120 AmCham Taipei members and guests turned out on September 20 to help the Chamber celebrate the 67th anniversary of its establishment in 1951. The event was held in the elegant Xifu Hall on the 9th floor of the Grand Mayfull Hotel in Taipei’s fast-growing Dazhi District. Attendees enjoyed an evening of convivial conversation and networking while partaking of sparkling wine and other beverages, as well as a delicious selection of dishes on the buffet line.

The event was jointly sponsored by Crate & Barrel, which offered VIP membership sign-up and a gift bag containing a crystal wine glass, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ InvesTaiwan office responsible for promoting foreign investment.

2018 Anniversary Cocktail – American Institute in Taiwan Deputy Director Raymond Greene

Brief remarks were delivered by American Institute in Taiwan Deputy Director Raymond Greene, AmCham Taipei President Bill Foreman, Amcham Taipei Chairman Albert Chang, and InvesTaiwan Director-general Emile Chang.

On behalf of AIT, Greene extended congratulations to AmCham on its anniversary and expressed appreciation for the Chamber’s unstinting efforts to foster trade and investment between Taiwan and the United States.

Foreman related the pride he has felt since taking office at the beginning of this year in leading an organization whose members contribute so much to Taiwan’s economic prosperity and thereby to its security and social stability.

Albert Chang called attention to some of AmCham Taipei’s signal achievements over the past year, including resolution of a record number of White Paper issues and arranging for Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong to speak at the Chamber’s Hsieh Nien Fan banquet.

2018 Anniversary Cocktail – InvesTaiwan Director-general Emile Chang

Emile Chang invited AmCham member companies to avail themselves of the investment-related services of his organization.

Members and friends of the Chamber are reminded to mark their calendars for the next big social event on the AmCham agenda: the 2018 American Ball, “Aloha Hawaii,” November 3 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

View the full photo gallery here.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Amendments to the Company Act

Recognizing the need to enhance Taiwan’s business environment to stay competitive in the global market, the Tsai administration has enacted a series of ambitious policy changes and legal amendments aimed at stimulating innovation and growth. Most fundamental to these goals are the sweeping changes made to the Company Act, Taiwan’s basic law governing business operations, that were passed by the Legislative Yuan in a late session on July 5 and promulgated into law on August 1.

To help AmCham members and guests better understand the scale and implications of these amendments, AmCham Taipei’s Tax Committee invited Chen Yen-po, Executive Specialist with the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), to host an explanatory seminar in the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on September 13. Chen and the MOEA worked closely not only with the Legislative Yuan but also the private sector, including business professionals, legal experts, and academics, on enacting the amendments. Chen noted that 148 articles to the Company Act were amended, with at least four articles deleted and replaced.

From left to right: Chen Yen-po, Executive Specialist with the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and AmCham Taipei’s Insurance Committee Co-Chair Dylan Tyson, President & CEO, Prudential Life Insurance Company of Taiwan Inc.

Key amendments are intended to:

  • Enhance business transparency by clarifying reporting obligations and abolishing anonymous “bearer shares.”
  • Improve the environment for startups by permitting the issuance of non-par-value shares, as well as permitting multiple distribution of cash dividends throughout the year.
  • Enable greater flexibility in business operations by furthering the gradual digitalization of documentation, increasing the range of rewards possible for talent, and reducing restrictions on directorships.
  • Strengthen shareholder protections by amending rules on shareholder meetings and the nomination of directors.
  • Improve corporate governance through enhancing disclosure requirements and access to shareholder rosters.
  • Allow the registration of company names in English so as to help foster international business operations and branding.

Chen added that the MOEA is currently in the process of developing the regulatory framework that will see these amendments enter into force. His presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

Developing Habits to Improve Leadership Presence

Presence has become a critical factor for today’s professionals. How you present yourself to others and having the ability to make lasting impressions is crucial to your success.

With the aim to provide development tools for business leaders, AmCham Taipei invited Rober Iyer, Executive and Training Coach of Inspiyer, to conduct a half-day seminar on “Executive Presence: 5 Steps to Creating Leadership Presence” at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room.

Iyer explained that leadership presence is a blend of how you present yourself, make people feel, and effectively communicate to others. He highlighted qualities leaders should have to develop presence:

  • Communication: clearly using verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Character/Substance: showing warmth, knowledge, wisdom
  • Authenticity: staying true to yourself and others, creating trust
  • Attentiveness: staying attuned to the current moment during communication
  • Confidence: knowing yourself; staying cool under pressure
  • Connectedness: having the ability to feel bonded to others

Using the example of the first televised Presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, Iyer demonstrated the impact first impressions can make on election outcomes. As the story goes, those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon won, while those who watched the debate on television believed Kennedy won. Attendees were asked to observe the two candidates’ body language and behavior to learn the importance of non-verbal communication.

In the second half of the seminar, Iyer discussed the power of non-verbal communications and shared a few tips on using body language to improve presence.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

AmCham Committees Brief U.S. Group

A U.S. team led by Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Terry McCartin arrived in Taiwan on September 11 for consultations with their Taiwan government counterparts on a variety of issues related to bilateral trade and investment. Others members of the group included Tsering Dhongthog, USTR’s Director for Taiwan Affairs, and representatives from the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture.

Co-chairs and other representatives from AmCham’s Medical Devices, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Cosmetics, Agro-Chemical, and Intellectual Property & Licensing Committees provided the visitors with briefings on the current status of their Taiwan White Paper and other issues.

New AIT Director Meets with Board Members

Brent Christensen, the newly arrived Director of the American Institute in Taipei, met with members of the AmCham Taipei Board on Sept. 5 to discuss the U.S. government’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy as well as current trends and concerns in the technology, biomedicine, infrastructure, and healthcare sectors. Deputy Director Ray Greene and representatives from AIT’s economic, commercial, and agriculture sections also participated. Attending from the AmCham side were Chairman Albert Chang; Vice Chairman Vincent Shih; President Bill Foreman; Governors Anita Chen, Wayne Chin, William Farrell, Revital Shpangental Golan, Ed Shober, and Daniel Tseng; Supervisor Joyce Lee; and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

Coaching Your Team to Improve Performance and Succeed

While all leaders should have the skills to manage, train, and teach, effective leaders also possess the ability to motivate and inspire teams to perform at higher levels.

On August 22, William Zyzo, Managing Director of Z&A Knowledge Solutions and Advisor to AmCham Taipei’s Advanced Learning Lab, conducted a half-day workshop at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room. Zyzo provided a blueprint for team-coaching skills that drive team-level engagement, collaboration, and performance.

Opening the session, Zyzo asked the audience to consider the differences among managing, training, and teaching. He explained team-coaching as a continuous process that could involve managing, training, and teaching at any given time. Throughout the workshop, the audience participated in real-time polls and was divided into groups to discuss case study questions.

The workshop provided a framework of useful tools for the coaching process that leaders can apply to the workplace in order to strengthen overall organizational performance.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

CSR Forum Focuses on Social Enterprises

Describing social enterprises as an “important part of Taiwan’s soft power,” Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, hailed their ability to meld the pursuit of social interests and business profits – forces usually thought of as being in conflict – to facilitate the search for common shared values and solutions. She made her remarks as the keynote speaker at the 2018 edition of AmCham Taipei’s annual CSR Forum, sponsored by JTI Taiwan and held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Social enterprises are defined as organizations that apply business solutions to social problems.

“Treat social issues as opportunities, not roadblocks,” advised Tang. “And no matter what you do, seek to build off of the energy of those around you.”

Other speakers at the forum were Sabrina Chen, CEO of Flow Inc., the first Taiwanese social enterprise; Stephanie Chan, CEO of Blueseeds, producer of 100% environmentally friendly household products; and Jianjia “Ajia” Gong, founder and Veterinary Officer of Pure Milk Ltd., a platform that connects dairy farmers and consumers.

Chen introduced Flow’s efforts to assist the disabled after rounds of interviewing people with disabilities showed that unemployment levels in this segment of the population are much higher than government statistics indicate. She noted that the disabled fall into one of three categories:

“They’re either functional enough to get jobs, so dysfunctional they qualify for government support, or they’re in between and neglected.”

This third group became Flow’s target population. “They very much want to work, and they are able to,” said Chen. “But they’re being displaced in [the service] industry, where they are competing with other disadvantaged people – those with low income, the elderly, and young people with little education. We asked ourselves: ‘What kinds of tech won’t become obsolete? How can we create opportunities where the weak don’t displace the weak?’ You need something that is sustainable and scalable.”

After some investigation, she settled on offering services in Building Information Modeling (BIM) as Flow’s first effort to provide employment opportunities for the disabled. “It’s the process of building a digital representation of a physical structure before you start building the actual thing,” Chen explains. She notes that you “need a group of people to do it, it’s a skill that can be learned, and it’s something that will always be necessary.”

Stressing the need for social enterprises to be financially viable, Stephanie Chan discussed Blueseeds’ difficult first three years when it was rapidly burning cash. “Because we want to stick to both 100% natural products and production processes, we can’t rely on standard farming practices that involve pesticides and heavy machinery,” she explained. “So our work is labor intensive, and our product was being eaten up by the birds and insects in the ecosystem.”

Cautioning persistence, she notes that many organic farmers give up within the first three years. In Blueseeds’ case, it only became profitable after three years, and since then the return on investment has been high. The message: perseverance pays off.

The advice from Pure Milk’s Gong was that “growth will come organically if you find the right partners with similar values.” But you “have to take time to understand what potential partners value, since sometimes what people say they value is different from what they really do.” For Pure Milk the key values are taking proper care of the dairy cows, practicing eco-friendly farming, and producing milk of the highest quality.

Gong said the idea for starting Pure Milk came after he noticed the large disparity in how well dairy farms were managed in Taiwan, yet “milk from farms that pay attention to animal welfare and environmental protection was worth the same as milk from farms that don’t.” The enterprise is partnering with four farms that share its high standards, helping them market their product to ensure they receive the return they deserve.

“As it turns out,” says Gong, pampered animals produce better milk.”

From left to right: AmCham’s CSR Committee Co-Chair Lume Liao, Deputy Secretary-General, Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion; Aga (龔建嘉), Founder and Veterinarian of I Love Milk (鮮乳坊); Stephanie Chan, Chief Executive Officer of Blueseeds (芙彤園); Audrey Tang, Minister without Portfolio of the Executive Yuan; Sabrina Chen, Chief Executive Officer of Flow (若水); CSR Committee Co-Chair Fupei Wang, Managing Director of Ogilvy PR; and AmCham Taipei President William Foreman.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Brand Building in the Digital Era

Today’s increasingly digital world demands new ways to build and manage brands. To ensure brand relevance, brand building calls for a new approach to connect and deliver brand behavior and experiences.

On July 27, Simon Koh, founder of Big Data Play Brand, to make a Chinese-language presentation entitled “大數據狂潮下的品牌策略” (Brand Strategies Under the Big Data Frenzy) at the AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room. He provided an overview of brand management fundamentals to give attendees a full understanding of how to build a compelling brand and how branding has changed in recent years.

Koh described four types of brands 1) Asset-Driven, 2) Service-Driven, 3) Technology-Driven, and 4) Network-Driven to showcase examples of different business models. A network-driven brand involves brand building through different platforms and ecosystems. In a disruptive era, consumers are exposed to more than 3,500 brands on a daily basis, compared to 2,000 brands just a decade ago. He noted that customers may experience a certain brand through multiple channels and touchpoints, sometimes even in a non-physical world, where machines and algorithms are responsible for deciding the role of the brand.

Koh stressed that in order to transform a brand and build relevance, an organization must understand its market, leverage new tools, generate insights, and measure its success.

From left to right: AmCham Taipei President William Foreman and speaker Simon Koh, founder of Big Data Play Brand.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

North Korea’s Market May Open Up, Expert Says  

Taiwanese businesses are among many that are making preparations to enter North Korea if a nuclear deal is successful and the nation opens up its market, an expert on North Korea said at an AmCham Taipei briefing held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on July 23.

Before the United States and others imposed strict sanctions on North Korea in recent years, Taiwanese companies were doing business with the country. They were mostly exporting chemicals, textiles, and machinery, while importing minerals, metals, and other raw materials. “Taiwan has good healthy [business] relations with the North,” said Seong-hyon Lee, Director of Unification Strategy Studies at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside of Seoul. “They want to be ready for when the North Korean market opens up. When it does, they’ll rush in.”

Some critics of the recent U.S.-North Korea talks believe that the negotiations will fall apart eventually like they have many times before. But Lee is optimistic about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s latest peace offensive, saying Pyongyang will opt for denuclearization if it is more lucrative than going nuclear.

“Kim is 34. He’ll be around for the next 50 years or more. However, he doesn’t want to rule an impoverished nuclear country for the next 50 years,” Lee said.

From left to right: Seong-hyon Lee, Director of Unification Strategy Studies at the Sejong Institute and AmCham Taipei President William Foreman

At last month’s summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim in Singapore, the U.S. leader tempted Kim with images of what North Korea’s economic development could look like if it gave up its nuclear weapons. “They have great beaches,” Trump said to reporters shortly after the summit. “You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, ‘Boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo?’”

It may be highly unlikely that North Korea will open to such an extent in the near future. In addition, anyone dealing with North Korea at this point risks violating international sanctions and facing ethical questions about doing business with a dictatorship that ignores human rights.

Although Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, President Tsai Ing-wen’s government has complied with the punitive U.N. measures against Pyongyang – a move that has drawn praise from the United States, Taiwan’s most valued friend.

Before the sanctions were tightened, Taiwan imported US$12.2 million in goods from North Korea in 2016, making Taiwan the country’s fourth largest trading partner.

Taiwan will continue to obey the sanctions, said Fang Wu-wan, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade. “We currently stand by this commitment,” she said. “How we proceed in the future depends on the international climate.”

Despite the current restrictions, some of the most prominent multinational companies are waiting for an opportunity to enter East Asia’s last undeveloped market. “It’s a world of business,” Lee said. “Even if North Korea is a bad guy, they’re looking for an opportunity if they can make money.”

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

How to Transform Complex Information into Simple, Engaging, Valuable Stories

Communicating complex information is a necessity in any workplace, but often as the amount of information increases, the time to present it effectively decreases. In addition, as more and more companies expand internationally, new audiences and ideas can easily result in information overload and confusing messages – making it more important than ever to connect the bridge between having valuable ideas and conveying them into meaningful stories.

William Zyzo, Managing Director of Z&A Knowledge Solutions and Advisor to AmCham Taipei’s Advanced Learning Lab, discussed this challenge in a July 18 seminar entitled “How to Transform Complex Information into Simple, Engaging, Valuable Stories”.  This full-day seminar in AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room included workshops involving pitch analysis and team projects. Zyzo encouraged audience participation through storytelling exercises.

William Zyzo guides audience members through a demonstration.

The agenda included:

  1. Clarifying the differences among information, meaning, and value
  2. How to transform any amount of information into a three-sentence story
  3. A four-step process to validate the story
  4. Hands-on practice with on-the-spot feedback
  5. Recommended learning resources for self-study

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.