REV: DECEMBER 17, 2010
JOSEPH P.H. FAN
WINNIE S.C. LEUNG
My dearest children,
Formosa Plastics Group: Business Continuity Forever
Everybody loves fortune. People accumulate different amounts of wealth in their lives. But when we leave this world, our wealth cannot be carried with us and shall be returned to the society. . . . I hope all of you can realize this very nature of fortune and live a fruitful life on the basis of this understanding. . . . With your recognition and support, I would appeal to you to leave my wealth to the public for the sake of the society, so that the enterprise into which I devoted my life can perpetuate and benefit the staff and the community forever.1 — Wang Yung-ching, founder of Formosa Plastics Group, 2004
On October 16, 2008, the people of Taiwan mourned the death of Wang Yung-ching, the legendary founder of Formosa Plastics Group (FPG). He died at the age of 92. An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Wang Yung-ching symbolized determination, hard work, and the rise of Taiwan. Just one day before he died, he was inspecting FPG’s business in the United States. At his memorial service, Taiwanese leaders praised him as “the glory of Taiwan” and “a compassionate person dedicated to charity.”2 He left behind a huge estate (worth US$5.5 billion) and a giant business empire.3 Although succession had been on his agenda for many years, he did not leave a will.
Wang Yung-ching’s management philosophy was famous: “Get to the root of the issue.”4 Only by understanding fundamentals, he believed, can problems be solved efficiently. He would typically work out every detail of a process. As Chi Schive, chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange, noted, “They [Formosa Plastics Group] even have an SOP [standard operating procedure] for constructing
1 “A Letter to My Children” (in Chinese), Taiwan United Daily News, November 8, 2008, http://mag.udn.com/mag/ people/storypage.jsp?f_MAIN_ID=161&f_SUB_ID=3806&f_ART_ID=158874, accessed August 24, 2009. The full letter can be found in Exhibit 1.
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jIoMLphvCYaAbAv5DigDvDeMkWVg, accessed August 24, 2009.
3 With a fortune assessed at US$5.5 billion, Wang Yung-ching was ranked as 178th wealthiest person in the world in 2008. He
was the second-wealthiest man in Taiwan. See “The World’s Billionaires,” Forbes, March http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/10/billionaires08_YC-Wang-family_0MRL.html, accessed August 24, 2009.
4 Wang Yung-ching, “My Views on Managing Business by Chinese” (in Chinese), published by China Jiangxi People’s
Publishing House, 1998.
Professors Li Jin and Joseph P.H. Fan, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Doctoral Candidate Winnie S. C. Leung, The University of Hong Kong, prepared this case. Professor Fan wishes to acknowledge the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. CUHK4716/05H) for their assistance with his research. This case was developed from published sources. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management.
Copyright © 2010 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu/educators. This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.
This document is authorized for use only by Bishnu Adhikary Kobe University until June 2014. Copying or posting is an...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document