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A Dose of Entrepreneurial Inspiration from 3 of Asia’s Noted Business Leaders

Behind every successful money-making venture is a visionary fueled by ambition, driven by success and motivated by innovation. Businesses start at the lowest tier and what determines their expansion is their owners’ next big move.

The Asian economy has always been aggressive. Many of the embraced products and services around the world are from the globally-competitive companies of the Orient. Making it big internationally isn’t just out of sheer luck and a one-time charmed streak. We’ve seen businesses soar to the highest of heights only to ultimately crash into ruins after the market’s change of heart. Nonetheless, the corporate sphere is an uncertain one. And what aspiring entrepreneurs should instil in their minds is to acquire tenacity especially in times of uncertainty.

Individuals who are hoping to establish a small business in a Makati business address or other urban centre may need to study from the masters before they take a dive into such risky realm. With the right mindset and complete entrepreneurial arsenal, obstacles along the way can be solved without jeopardising the entire company.

business leaders


Cher Wang, founder of HTC


Perhaps the best training well-off parents can give to their children is in how to obtain a successful status in the society without relying on the family wealth. This was the case of Ms. Cher Wang, daughter of a prominent Taiwanese business tycoon and one of the most powerful female executives in the global technology arena. Wang established the HTC Corporation with her own fortune. As a self-confessed tech geek who has worked in Silicon Valley, she started off with designing computer chips in her living room. HTC, which was founded in 1997, was delving into notebook computers during its earliest days until the promising idea of a hand-held computer-phone hybrid came along. Seeing that the former was rather volatile with lots of competitors in the market, Wang pushed for smartphones and it definitely paid off as HTC has become one of the 6 well-loved smartphone brands in the world. Up to this day, Cher Wang deeply holds in her heart the difficult obstacle course she had to go through before making it big. She was not only armed with the brains to make realistic decisions — she also keeps the passion to pursue her ideas despite the numerous bumps along the way.


Tony Tan Caktiong, founder of Jollibee


Jollibee, the nation’s home-grown fast food chain, has two main ingredients that captivates every Filipino’s tastebuds: Pinoy-style American food and unadulterated humility. Jollibee would not have reached it’s current global status if not for the tenacious yet humble Tony Tan Caktiong. What started out as an ice cream parlour suddenly transitioned into a snack bar with sandwiches and spaghetti as well-known entrées. When asked about the lovable red bee as the fast food chain’s logo, Mr. Tan Caktiong explained that it was a symbol of their family’s hard work (bees are ultimately known for it). The CEO decided to make it a franchise business and later on, Jollibee prospered even more through series of business overhauls. At present, it has infiltrated the overseas markets with branches in the USA, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Tony Tan Caktiong has many things to impart to fellow businessmen, but he deems this as the most important one: to never be scared at committing mistakes. He says that these inevitable consequences are part of the learning process. Once you realise and correct them, you will understand that mistakes aren’t really a waste of time.


Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten


A rebel entrepreneur — this title seems to fit the steadfast Hiroshi Mikitani, who victoriously kicked from the top spot of the successful online retailers list with his very own Rakuten Inc. Mikitani, who’s also fond of publishing his thoughts on his LinkedIn page, is known for his unorthodox business practices and aggressive movements in the e-commerce sphere. Rakuten has indeed become a significant global enterprise with a battalion of employees to back it up. The company sells almost everything from fashion merchandise to electronic gadgets. Mikitani and his Rakuten Group also owns several businesses specialising in finance, media, entertainment, travel and professional sports. Rakuten, in Japanese, means optimism — the attitude Mikitani embodies and wants to impart to his people. The ever-brilliant CEO started his venture with limited capital and no seasoned management. What he did instead was cultivate an equally competitive roster of fresh, internet-savvy graduates and fund the business himself. While Amazon banks in on the customer experience, Rakuten concentrated on the merchant’s side — providing a point of sale for local entrepreneurs and SMEs. The company abides by the “omotenashi”, a Japanese concept of providing high quality and personal service. Mikitani strives to be number 1 and he is never shy about it. With this mindset, he drove Rakuten to the number 1 spot and even succeeded in acquiring several companies.

Each true-blooded entrepreneur has his or her own way of dealing with things. However, the main theme revolves around passion, determination and vision. This sets them apart from average individuals and unproductive dreamers.


Photo credits: suphakit73 – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net


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