- unknown (b.)
The founder and CEO of Vizio, he was born and raised in Taiwan, moved to Hawaii, United States at the age of 13 and then to California at the age of 14. He attended the University of Southern California and graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1986. He answered a newspaper ad from a Chinese company that sold computer monitors and worked in tech support, answering customers' calls until 1990. Thinking he could build a better computer monitor than the IBM standard he started a company called MAG Innovision in 1900. He founded the company with $350,000 and the company grew to $600 million in six years. In 1994, he acquired Princeton Graphic Systems which was later sold in 2001. He started with two or three employees and grew to about 400. The manufacturing was done overseas. The market grew fast, but then the industry took a different turn. By 1998, MAG Innovision's revenue was around $470 million, but then because the computer business had gone from a technology-driven industry to a commodity industry, along with spending too much money and losing money, he sold the company to his manufacturer in 1998. He started another computer monitor company called Princeton Graphic Systems, beginning with an R&D facility in Asia that worked on high-definition TVs. He tried doing custom video displays for slot machines, Internet-enabled high-definition TV sets, and a few other businesses, but none of them really worked out. When everything was collapsing - he was in an airplane crash. He survived the crash of Singapore Airlines Flight 006, suffering only carbon monoxide poisoning. The event proved inspirational: in his potentially final moments, he thought first of his family and second of all the business-related headaches that were suddenly gone. The tragedy provided an opportunity for him to reorganize his thoughts and his life. Within two years, he had closed down all of his businesses before entering the television market. In 2001, Gateway asked him to help put together a TV plan. Ted Waitt [Gateway’s then chairman] had been one of his customers at MAG, his former company and had become his mentor. His team helped Gateway put together its 42-inch plasma TV system, priced at $2999. Comparable systems at the time sold for upwards of $6000. Not long after that, he decided to get into the TV business for himself. He started "V Inc." in 2002 with Laynie Newsome, Ken Lowe and $600,000. His idea was to combine low prices with high quality and exceptional customer support, and to make this approach profitable through extremely lean operations. He had originally wanted to name it W Inc. after being impressed with the Hotel W during a stay there, but settled for V when he learned that W had already been copyrighted. Later when V Inc. was found to be hard to pronounce, he renamed the company VIZIO Inc. – the name used for their plasma TV. The company is now one of the largest sellers of LCD HDTVs in North America with $2.5 billion in revenue in 2009 and a three-year growth rate of 295.12%. He is also on the Board of Directors at Segerstrom Center (2011) and the Board of Counselors USC Viterbi School of Engineering (since 2009). He has won numerous awards, among which are: the 2012: USC Alumni Merit Award; the 2012 Forum for Corporate Director’s Award for Enhancement of Economic Value; the 2012 Orange County Business Journal Board of Achievement; and 2010 Forbes 25 most notable Chinese Americans.
Noted For:Founder and CEO of Vizio, Inc.
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