Selflessness is the key to Success of a Century-old Company

/ Ho Show-Chuan / Chairman of Yuen Foong Yu Group

Yuen Foong Yu (YFY) was originally founded as a traditional paper manufacturer nearly a century ago. Since its establishment, under the leadership of Chairman Ho Show-Chuan, the corporation has been striving to raise the international competitiveness of the Taiwanese paper industry while transforming itself to a multinational corporation encompassing a wide range of businesses, including biotechnology, finances, high technology, and green energy. The success of this century-old corporation lies in the practical-minded Chairman Ho’s determination to operate the business steadfastly in a time of flux.

The history of the Yuen Foong Yu Group is closely related to the development of Taiwanese paper industry. In 1924, Chairman Ho’s father, Ho Chuan, founded the Yuen Foong Shop, selling fertilizers, sugar, and miscellaneous crops. In 1950, the shop was restructured into Yuen Foong Yu Paper Mfg. Co., Ltd, the first privately-owned paper factory in Taiwan.

Growing up in Tainan, Chairman said jokingly that he had a deep affection for Taiwan Provincial Cheng Kung University. After graduating from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at TPCKU, he went abroad and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin. He began his career in Yuen Foong Yu after his return to Taiwan in 1969. In his view, the many outstanding engineers nurtured by his alma mater before World War II have played a key role in Taiwan’s rapid industrial development in the wake of the war. For instance, the first and second managers of Plant Jiu Tang were also graduates from TPCKU, specializing respectively in chemical engineering and mechanical engineering. He believes that the practical learning climate at TPCKU helped him to stay grounded as an entrepreneur.

As Chairman Ho Show-Chuan recalls, Prof. Chen-Jiu Ma, his beloved professor, often stressed the importance of hands-on experience to mechanical engineering students. He quoted Prof. Ma as saying, “Engineer (is) always near engine.” It was Prof. Ma’s conviction that an engineer must keep an eye on everything in the engineering field. Under his influence, Chairman Ho has always worked diligently to improve the manufacturing process of YFY’s products over the years and has become a successful entrepreneur known for his down-to-earth style. His success highlights the value of accepting honors with humility and achieving prosperity for all, held dear by NCKU alumni over the past 90 years.

In Chairman Ho’s words, “The practically-oriented academic climate at NCKU has nurtured us with the ability to make great achievements. This is our DNA, making us different from graduates of other universities.”

Expansion to Diversified Businesses and Commitment to Development of Carbon Sinks

Under the directorship of Chairman Ho, YFY has continued to expand its business operations and is ranked among the world’s top 50 pulp and paper companies. As a key player in Asian markets, YFY has aspired to broaden its business scope into biotechnology, finances, cutting-edge technology, and energy industries. To achieve that end, YFY built Taiwan’s first factory that manufactures TFT LCD panels in 1992, tapping into the e-paper market. In 1997, YFY started to pay close attention to a startup called E Ink and decided to acquire E Ink in 2009, thus becoming the sole multinational corporation that manufactures traditional paper and electronic paper.

Chairman Ho has been thinking critically and creatively about issues regarding green energy and sustainability and has presented a concept comprising the five cycles of agriculture, water systems, paper made from renewable resources, renewable energy, and the carbon cycle. The spirit of circular economy is rooted in all employees at YFY and will be demonstrated through our legacy across generations. As noted by Chairman Ho, the invention of nPulp and the technology to make paper from recycled paper and turning residue materials into clean energy—is concrete proof that YFY has invested in environmental protection, biotechnology, materials science, and renewable energy amid the global trend for environment conservation in recent years.

Since carbon emissions are globally seen as an adverse result of economic development, Chairman Ho believes now is the time to reconsider the value of natural resources. The fact that trees produce glucose (sugar molecule) through photosynthesis while storing carbon inside themselves shows that glucose is a primary energy form and for that reason, it can be used to create more energy and lower carbon footprints. YFY will continue to seek improvement in the manufacturing process through alternatives that are low carbon, low energy consumption, and can help to replace petrochemical fuels, in the hope to create a sustainable “glucose economy” for future generations. This also reflects NCKU’s core values of pursuing environmental sustainability and human values, and achieving a common good society.

The Hsin-Yi Foundation Safeguarding the Welfare of the Child

NCKU alumni worldwide do not merely pursue their own success but consider it a priority to provide solutions to social problems. In addition to being committed to the success of YFY’s business operations, Chairman Ho also gives top priority to preschool education. To raise public awareness of early childhood development, he and his wife Chang Hsing-Ju have shifted the focus of work of the Hsin-Yi Foundation, which was founded by his father Ho Chuan (courtesy name as Hsin Yi), to the promotion of preschool education and research of development in early childhood. It is worth mentioning that the foundation has started to offer the Hsin Yi Children Literature Award since 1988 in hopes of encouraging Taiwanese illustrators to create more picture books for children. The Foundation has published a great number of well-circulated classic picture books over the past decades.

Chairman Ho spoke emotionally about his wife’s contributions to the Hsin-Yi Foundation in the forty plus years. They have tried to do the right thing and stay out of public eye while giving credit to others, raising their spirits, and helping to create a brighter future. Their longtime efforts have transformed the Foundation into an important institution that promotes preschool education across the Taiwan straits, simply because Chairman Ho and his wife want to give all children the best childhood.

With YFY moving toward its 100th anniversary, Chairman Ho made a critical decision about hiring professional managers to run the company. Ho pointed out that YFY has successfully developed energy efficient technology and renewable energy, as well as the aforementioned five cycles comprising circular economy. Therefore, now is an opportune moment to hire professional managers to execute business strategies that are aligned with various scientific fields to meet the demands of today’s markets and create more possibilities in the future.

“Selflessness is the key to sustainability,” Chairman Ho spoke with confidence about this century-old corporation and will celebrate more anniversaries in the years to come. (Picture courtesy of Ho Show-Chuan.)

NCKUer |
Class |
Achievements and Honors |

Ho Show-Chuan

Department of Mechanical Engineering Class of 1967

・Chairman of Yuen Foong Yu Group

・Founded E Ink Holdings Incorporated in 1992.

・Founded Tai Gen Biotechnology in 2001.

・Served as president of the Taiwan Paper Industry Association from 1985 to 1991.

・Chairman of the Hsin-Yi Foundation between 1989 and 2014.

・Initial donor and director of the EPOCH Foundation in 1996.

・Chairman of the Fire Development Foundation from 1998 to 2021.

・Received the Outstanding Alumni Award by the College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin in 2010.

・NCKU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.

・Fellow of Eisenhower Fellowship from 1990 to 2011 and Director of Board of Trustee in 2011.

Ho Show-Chuan /Department of Mechanical Engineering Class of 1967

・Chairman of Yuen Foong Yu Group

・Founded E Ink Holdings Incorporated in 1992.

・Founded Tai Gen Biotechnology in 2001.

・Served as president of the Taiwan Paper Industry Association from 1985 to 1991.

・Chairman of the Hsin-Yi Foundation between 1989 and 2014.

・Initial donor and director of the EPOCH Foundation in 1996.

・Chairman of the Fire Development Foundation from 1998 to 2021.

・Received the Outstanding Alumni Award by the College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin in 2010.

・NCKU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.

・Fellow of Eisenhower Fellowship from 1990 to 2011 and Director of Board of Trustee in 2011.

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Department of Electrical Engineering Class ‘66

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Chairman of Fulu Foundation
物理學系71級

楊陽

美國加州大學洛杉磯分校材料科學與工程學系教授
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