: ‘Teamwork is important'Flash memory manufacturing company Phison Electronics Corp president Pua Khein-Seng will be in Penang next month for the MSC Malaysia Cybercity @ Penang conference to give a talk entitled From Local to Global: Best Practices of Local Companies in the K-economy.
PETALING JAYA: Being a university graduate in a tight financial situation did not hinder Pua Khein-Seng
from dreaming big.Now president of Flash memory manufacturing company Phison Electronics Corp, he said making a big dream come true is something that cannot be done alone.
"You need a team to make it work, without a team you cannot hope to succeed," he
said in Taiwan during a recent telephone interview. Pua
, who hails from Sekinchan, Selangor, is speaking from experience.He
moved to Taiwan in 1993 to study engineering and continued to live in the republic after graduation. He founded Phison with four other university friends in 2000, but that turned out to be the easiest part.His
financial problems began when they tried to come up with the capital outlay for their fledgling company.
They needed NT$13mil (about RM1.4mil today)."I was lucky to know a few people who loaned me some money to start Phison
.My team also chipped in by borrowing money from their relatives," Pua
said.Today the company has a capital outlay of NT$1bil (RM105mil).
From those humble beginnings, Pua
learnt that to be successful in a global high-tech venture, eight factors come into play and teamwork is the most crucial of them all."High priority must be put on teamwork because I know that a one-man operation cannot be successful," he
Secondly, a team must share a core value and that means believing in their strengths and products.
Once that is established, Pua
said the next step is to learn to be innovative and have a good business plan.
"It is important that the company begins producing and marketing its product as soon as they are confident of success, before someone else comes up with a similar product," he
"These days, so many people are out there hunting for and even stealing good ideas, so you need to be fast and efficient to be the first one out there with it."
said, companies must also have a good business model - one that works for them by increasing their strengths and minimising their weaknesses.
"This is important because a business model decides whether you succeed or fail," he
said."And once you have found what works for you, stick to it." He
advised businessmen not to be easily swayed by suggestions from others, "who may not know the capabilities of your company."Pua
said that when word got out that Phison
was successful in the Flash drive industry, many outsiders suggested that it venture into other fields, such as PC manufacturing.
"But we knew that it wasn't the right time to venture into that; we knew that our strength is in Flash memory technology," he
Another ingredient for success in high-tech ventures is to have respectful relationships with your shareholders and partners.
"You have to maintain a good relationship with them and this does not cost any money at all - just plain and simple respect," he
cited an example where Phison
struck a deal with Japanese electronics company Toshiba Corp
in 2001.It was not easy, Pua
said, to convince the electronics giant that it could work with a fledgling company like Phison.
But by proving to Toshiba
was capable of doing its job efficiently, Toshiba
became confident enough to buy a 17% stake in Phison just five months after the first meeting.
"You also need to support your partners in any way possible, that is another hallmark of a good business relationship," added Pua
.Having a sound financial plan is also important, according to him."Without cash in hand, you won't have any power (over the business)," he
Lastly, a company must have good leaders to manage the organisation.This, Pua
said, may not have been the best of Phison's strengths in the early years."We are engineers and sometimes do not make the best managers," he
said."Fortunately, we managed to learn." He
learned that sharing the company's success with its employees is a sure-fire way to keep the company moving from strength to strength.
"When the company is doing well, Phison employees get free Phison stock as a bonus and every employee now owns a small percentage of the company," he
said.This encourages them to work harder and improve because Phison
is their company, too.
All the success that Phison
has experienced, said Pua
, started with a simple act of teamwork and some smarts."Teamwork is important but you also need to be smart about the business and have the right skills," he
advised Malaysian businessmen with dreams of making it abroad.
Being smart, he
said, does not mean having the best academic qualifications but about how to get people to work with you."You must learn how to win people's hearts," he
will be in Penang next month for the MSC Malaysia Cybercity
@ Penang conference to give a talk titled From Local to Global: Best practices of Local companies in the K-economy. He
will elaborate more on what it takes to catapult local business into the global arena during the session.