Peter Chou, the current chief executive officer (CEO) and president of the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer HTC Corporation, has revealed his Burmese origins for the first time.
Chou, whose company is one of the world’s leading makers of smartphones and tablets, told an audience of young IT enthusiasts in Mandalay that he was born in Burma’s second-largest city and studied there before emigrating to Taiwan more than 30 years ago.
Although Chou’s first return visit to his native country since then coincided with President Thein Sein’s recent call to exiled intellectuals and businessmen to return to Burma, Chou said the purpose of his trip was see friends and relatives, not explore investment opportunities.
“He said this time is mainly for seeing relatives,” said Thein Htut, a computer expert who studied with Chou during his years at the Mandalay Regional College. “He said that in the future, rather than investment, he may open official HTC sale centers.”
An official at HTC’s headquarters declined to comment when asked by The Irrawaddy if the company plans to invest in Burma.
When he was still living in Burma, Chou was reportedly a schoolmate of Thaung Tin, the chairman and CEO of the KMD Group of Companies, a leading provider of IT-related services in Burma.
During his stay in Mandalay, the HTC CEO said that the city had changed a lot since he left, and that even though he had to leave Burma for better opportunities, he wanted to see his native country develop.
When he was young, Chou repaired radios and televisions for a living and later went to Taiwan and the US to continue his studies. In 2004, he became the CEO of HTC Corporation, formerly known as the High Tech Computer Corporation.
Ye Myat Thu, the director of Alpha Mandalay Company, told The Irrawaddy that Chou shared some of the details of his early struggles during his talk on Monday at the Mandalay Computer Scholar’s Association, and urged his audience to do their best to reach their goals.
“He said young people need to be innovative and at the same time be systematic in implementing their plans,” recalled Ye Myat Thu.
During his stay in Burma, Chou will reportedly visit Naypyidaw and meet with cabinet members.