EXCLUSIVE: Acer Has a Very Big Future Says Chairman
Taiwanese Company Acer who are one of the world’s leading technology Companies and a major supplier of PC’s to Australian schools is set to take a giant step to a whole new world that will be dominated by connected devices and Smart Cities.
Earlier today I met up with Stan Shih the founder of Acer, he believes that Taiwan is ready to take on Silicon Valley and that Taiwan is already in a strong position to become the new Silicon Valley of Asia which is the future is for IoT or technology devices.
He also believes that Governments such as NSW, Victoria and Queensland who are tipping billions into new infrastructure and housing can benefit from new technology now coming out of Taiwan.
A die hard visionary Shih is one of the men who has shaped technology as we know it today and his vision for Smart Cities is now well on the agenda of Governments, Private Investors and technologists.
Addressing a 40th Anniversary conference in Taipei, Shih said that Acer still had a lot to learn despite being a dominant manufacturer of hardware.
Their ability as a PC manufacturer was no more evident when I was given hands on look at the new Swift 7 which is the thinnest laptop in the world, at just 0.99 centimetres, despite its size it still manages to crank out battery life up to seven hours.
Then there is Acer’s new 8 Kilo, Predator 21 X which is a monster. Not only have this machine’s designers put a curved 21-inch display on a notebook for the first time ever, they’ve also gone and given it two GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs as well.
Add in five cooling fans, a 7th-generation Intel Core K-series processor, and space for as much as four terabytes of SSD storage, and you have a laptop could well need a forklift to get it up to a desk.
Back in 1983 Stan Shih took on IBM when he launched an IBM compatible PC. He then went on to create component Companies that supported Acer hardware.
He quickly became a legend among PC manufacturers.
I first met Stan Shih over dinner in Las Vegas in 1999.
Sitting on my table at a CRN Hall of Fame dinner was Bill Gates, Charles Geschke and John Warnock the founders of Adobe and Stan Shih, after a speech by the founders of Palm Computing Shih who at the time was manufacturing products for the enterprise and B2B markets, turned around to me and said “It is time that we look at the consumer PC market”.
18 months later I was invited to Taiwan for the launch of a new Company called BenQ which was Acer’s go to market Company for consumer PC products.
The CEO and co-founder of the Acer Group, Shih was responsible for building up one of the world’s biggest computer and peripheral makers while overseeing 120 different businesses with 34,000 employees worldwide.
A native of Taiwan, Shih is one of the pioneers of the PC business and at today’s event the auditorium was packed with people including executives from some of the biggest technology Companies in the world as the master technologist outlined his vision for Taiwan, IoT devices and Smart Cities.
In Taiwan, he is seen the man who helped bring the country’s economy into the modern industrial age.
His vision initially was to see every computer, no matter the brand, contain Acer components led the company to a sales relationship with all the top computer manufacturers and the company’s own status as the third largest computer manufacturer in the world.
He was also the mentor to ASUS founder CEO Johnny Shih (not related).
ASUS was founded by T.H. Tung, Ted Hsu, Wayne Tsiah and M.T. Liao in April 1989. Shih wasn’t part of the founding team, but he was still very much involved from day one.
When ASUS was first dreamt up there four engineers who all happened to be working with Acer.
Johnny Shih had overseen Acer’s R&D for over 12 years and had worked alongside Stan Shih through both “the good and bad years”.
At the time, Jonney was reporting to Stan Shih, the then-chairman and CEO of Acer.
The two Shihs are not related, but young Jonney looked up to Stan as his mentor, so he went to ask for Stan’s blessing to let him start a new company.
Stan convinced Jonney to stay, since Acer wasn’t in great shape — largely due to a downturn in the US economy at the time.
Still, Jonney ended up supporting the team of engineers by providing 60 percent of their start-up funding, and Stan was fine with that.
Jonney Shih didn’t join until three years later.
Without Jonney Shih’s direct guidance, the ASUS co-founders were still able to make a huge breakthrough.
In its second year, the start-up beat its local rivals and launched an Intel 486 motherboard around the same time as IBM. But unlike the American giant, ASUS achieved this feat without getting a preview of Intel’s chip; the engineers based their motherboard design on their understanding of earlier chipsets.
Fast-forward to 1992: The two Shihs finally got Acer back into shape, but it was quite the opposite for ASUS. The company was suffering from quality issues plus a loss of “second-generation” engineers.
Jonney asked Stan once again to let him join ASUS.
Seeing that Acer was in good health, this time Stan gave the go-ahead, under the condition that Jonney would take a half-year break beforehand.
In Australia ASUS is still struggling with Acer Australia the dominant PC Company across several markets.
Shih who is now 78 is still a driving force, but instead of PC’s Shih is today pushing smart cities.
At today’s event Shih urged Taiwan toward further smart city development through collaboration with the private sector.
During his interview with ChannelNews he said that Acer had major opportunities ahead and that by working with Governments and the Private sector in Countries like Australia both Taiwan, Acer and Australia could benefit from iOT innovation.
Shih urged the Taiwanese government and even the Australian Government to foster more smart city projects by fully embracing the potential of public-private partnerships.
He said that Taiwan’s smart cities initiatives are strongly positioned to take advantage of the thriving technology ecosystem offered by the country’s private sector.
Specifically, he highlighted the country’s advanced position in such fields as information and communications technology, software and administration design. This technological advantage in the private sector should feed into collaborative efforts by the government to build out its smart city strategy.
One of the key outcomes that these smart city initiatives should be that there is greater support for the country’s youth, says Shih. This can be done by backing industrial clusters and innovative business models that allow the talent of tomorrow to succeed.
The Acer founder’s vocal support of greater smart city support follows news this spring that Taiwanese investment firm Fu Hwa Securities is launching a $625 million global investment fund that focuses on Internet of Things (IoT).
Fu Hwa said its new fund will target the plethora of opportunities that are emerging from IoT technologies such as self-driving cars, big data, smart logistics, cloud computing and advanced manufacturing. As well, it added that it will be exploring investments in such sectors as pharmaceuticals, energy, environmental and biotech.