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2014-07-10    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Founders who go back to save their company from the brink of extinction have a mixed record. The second coming of Apple’s Steve Jobs was an unequivocal success, while Jerry Yang’s return to Yahoo was an unequivocal failure. And the jury is still out on Michael Dell’s efforts to revive his namesake computer maker.

Now HTC, a struggling Taiwan-based smartphone maker, is pinning its hopes of redemption on co-founder and chairwoman Cher Wang. Last year under pressure from agitated investors, Wang, 55, resumed day-to-day involvement. She hasn’t officially assumed a new title—she insists she’s merely there to support current CEO Peter Chou—but she’s actively working on marketing, building relationships with telephone companies that carry HTC devices, and, crucially, helping lift morale among employees, who have been battered by the handset maker’s loss of business and an exodus of senior executives.

It is no surprise that Wang (rhymes with “gong”) prefers a more behind-the-scenes role at HTC, which she co-founded in 1997. Despite her wealth (estimated net worth: $1.6 billion) and the fact that she’s the daughter of Taiwanese tycoon Wang Yung-Ching, founder of petrochemicals conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, Wang maintains a low profile and eschews many of the trappings of wealth. She’s been known to fly on discount carrier Southwest Airlines and favors a uniform of simple black suits. But she has serious technology chops: She founded chipset maker Via Technologies before HTC. “I started HTC because of the vision I had a long time ago,” Wang tellsFortune. “I really wanted to do handheld computers.” Indeed, HTC stands for “high-tech computer.”
在1997年参与创立的HTC公司,王雪红更喜欢隐居幕后,这一点并不意外。虽然自己是亿万富翁(净值预计为:16亿美元),而且是石油化工业巨头台塑集团(Formosa Plastics Group)创始人、台湾商界巨擎王永庆的女儿,但王雪红却一直为人低调,生活朴素。她经常乘坐价格低廉的美国西南航空公司(Southwest Airlines)的航班,喜欢穿一套简洁的蓝色套装。但她有着深厚的技术背景:早在HTC之前,她便成立了芯片组制造商威盛科技(Via Technologies)。她告诉《财富》杂志(Fortune):“我之所以创立HTC,是因为很久以前的一个愿望。我很想生产掌上电脑。”事实上,HTC三个字母的含义便是“高科技计算机”。

Wang’s combination of humility and tech prowess may be exactly what HTC needs to rebound from its ignominious fall. After bursting on to the scene as a wholesale phone maker for Global 500 companies such as Hewlett-Packard (No. 50 on the Global 500), HTC shifted to marketing phones under its own name. The company scored a big win in 2008 when Google (No. 162) selected HTC to partner with it on the first phone to run on its Android operating system.
HTC要想止住颓势,触底反弹,或许正需要王雪红身上的谦卑和技术实力。最初,作为惠普(Hewlett-Packard,世界500强第50位)等世界500强公司(Global 500)的批发手机制造商,HTC横空出世,后来开始销售以公司名称命名的手机。2008年,HTC赢得重大胜利。当年,谷歌(Google,世界500强第162位)选择HTC作为合作伙伴,HTC手机成为第一款运行安卓(Android)操作系统的手机。

For a time HTC was on a roll. Emboldened by its success, management began to focus on high-end devices that would compete with Apple’s AAPL 0.59% iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line. Revenue in 2010 climbed to $9.6 billion. But by Christmas 2011 the company had started to make execution errors. Management missed sales projections, and a critically admired new smartphone, the HTC One X, failed to reverse the decline. Supply issues plagued the company, as did a lack of marketing focus. Even a phone launched with Facebook FB -0.24% in 2013, which featured the social networking giant’s “Facebook Home” interface, flopped and was quickly discounted by its exclusive carrier, AT&T T 0.48% . As HTC fumbled, Apple and Samsung solidified their positions at the top of the mobile food chain. HTC, once the top seller of Android-powered phones, eventually slipped from the list of the world’s top 10 smartphone makers. “In the beginning, the competition was not as severe,” says Wang. “We didn’t think marketing was as important—we thought the product was more important than marketing. And we didn’t know how to communicate with the customer.”
之后的一段时间,HTC的发展一帆风顺。受到之前成功的鼓舞,公司管理层开始将重点转移到高端设备,以期与苹果的iPhone和三星(Samsung)的Galaxy系列竞争。2010年,这家公司的收入达到了96亿美元。但从2011年圣诞节开始,这家公司出现了一系列执行错误。管理层无法达到销售预期,即便广受好评的新智能手机HTC One X也未能扭转局面。供应问题和缺乏营销重心导致公司深受困扰。2013年,HTC联合社交媒体巨头Facebook发布了一款手机,其中搭载了“Facebook Home”界面,结果却以失败告终。这款手机的独家运营商美国电话电报公司(AT&T)很快便开始将这款手机降价处理。而在HTC一路跌跌撞撞的同时,苹果和三星却巩固了在移动市场食物链顶端的位置。曾经最畅销的安卓手机制造商HTC最终被挤出了全球十大智能手机制造商行列。王雪红说:“最初,竞争没有这么激烈。我们当时认为市场营销没有那么重要——我们的观念是,产品比市场营销更重要。我们不知道如何与消费者进行沟通。”

Wang’s return has yet to improve HTC’s financial performance. Revenue in 2013 fell 30% to $6.85 billion, and the company lost $44.6 million. Revenue for the recent quarter slipped 23% from the year before. And competing with Apple, Samsung, and a growing number of cheaper Chinese manufacturers, isn’t likely to get any easier.

Employees say Wang’s presence has already started to make a difference. She’s traversed the globe, meeting with employees and key suppliers and customers—including the chairman of China Mobile, the largest cellphone operator in the world by customers. “It’s been inspiring for the organization because you have somebody who’s really kind of an understated icon in the smartphone world,” says Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC’s North America operations.
但公司员工表示,王雪红的回归已经开始产生影响。她在全球四处奔波,会见员工,拜访主要供应商与客户,包括世界上客户数量最多的手机运营商中国移动(China Mobile)的董事长。HTC北美区业务总裁贾森•麦肯齐说:“她的回归让整个公司备受鼓舞,因为我们有这样一位智能手机业的低调偶像。”

Wang comes from a family of accomplished business executives. In addition to her highly successful father, who ran his plastics empire until his death at age 92, her sister Charlene co-founded motherboard maker First International Computer in 1980. Another sibling, Winston, started a China-based semiconductor company. “They are a fascinating family,” says Steve Zelencik, the former chief marketing officer of Advanced Micro Devices. Back when Wang started her career, working for her sister’s company in the 1980s, she was in charge of buying components from AMD AMD -2.30% . “She showed up as just a kid out of college, but she adapted quickly,” says Zelencik, now retired from the tech industry.
王雪红的家族商业人才辈出。她的父亲在92岁去世之前一直运营着自己的塑料帝国。1980年,她的姐姐王雪玲参与创立了电脑主板制造商大众电脑(First International Computer)。哥哥王文洋在中国大陆创办了一家半导体公司。超威半导体公司(Advanced Micro Devices,AMD)前首席营销官史蒂夫•契尔尼克说:“他们是一个非常了不起的家族。”上世纪80年代,职业刚刚起步的王雪红在姐姐的公司工作,负责从AMD采购组件。目前已从科技行业退休的契尔尼克回忆说:“当时的她就是一个刚刚走出大学校门的孩子,稍微显得有些青涩,但她很快就适应了自己的角色。”

In fact, Wang spent much of her teen years learning how to adapt. At 15, she was sent from Taipei, Taiwan, to Berkeley to attend high school and eventually the University of California at Berkeley. A devout Christian, Wang lived with a Jewish host family, where she was exposed to new foods, customs, and responsibilities. “Wednesdays were my day to cook,” Wang recalls. “I didn’t know how to, so they soon became Chinese restaurant night.”
事实上,王雪红的少年时代一直都在学会适应。15岁时,她被从台北送到伯克利读高中,后来就读于加州大学伯克利分校(University of California at Berkeley)。身为一名虔诚的基督徒,王雪红却不得不寄宿在一个犹太家庭。她要接触全新的食物、习俗和责任。王雪红回忆道:“每周三轮到我做饭。我不知道该怎么做,结果,周三很快就变成了中餐馆之夜。”

Wang’s mother, Wang Yung-Ching’s second of three partners, eventually also left Taiwan and settled in the Bay Area. “She didn’t take any money with her,” says Wang. “She learned English and got her driver’s license when she was 60.”

Wang tears up when she talks about her parents. Her father, clearly a prominent figure in her life, wrote her 10-page letters describing his business experiences. “I had to write back or he would be upset,” says Wang during an interview at the Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park, Calif. (She splits her time between the Bay Area and Taipei, close to where HTC is based.)
在谈到父母的时候,王雪红忍不住潸然泪下。很显然,父亲在她的一生中扮演着最重要的角色。他曾给她写过10页纸的书信,传授自己的经商经验。王雪红在加州门罗帕克的瑰丽酒店(Rosewood Hotel)接受采访时说:“我必须得回信,否则他会很生气。”(她要经常往返于旧金山湾区和台北,这里靠近HTC的总部。)

After spending her formative years with her sister’s company, Wang helped build Via Technologies in the late 1980s. Later, through acquisition and investment, Wang and a small team of executives drifted into the phone business. “At that time I interviewed everyone,” Wang says of HTC’s early days. “I would tell them the vision. Peter [Chou] was the first one to believe.”

Wang continues to place faith in Chou’s ability to turn around the company they built together. “ Now I can focus on building new products and new product categories,” says Chou, who has reportedly said he would step down if the company’s current family of smartphones didn’t succeed. “She is my biggest supporter.” She’s also HTC’s largest shareholder, and she’s seen the value of her holdings plunge 90% since 2011. Wang may be modest, but if HTC’s slide continues, few would be surprised if she pulls a Steve Jobs-like return.

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