Computex, Taiwan – Ask anyone in IT and they'll tell you just how tough business is in Taiwan – tougher than most of us in the western world would know. But a young ex-South African is making his presence felt with a very different approach to the traditional Taiwanese business model.

Historically – and it still holds true today – the main focus of Taiwanese manufacturers is on volume. The R&D is done, the product is developed, and then it's all about moving as many units into the marketplace as possible.
But Leader Yeh, GM of Gigazone, which specialises in what he calls the "look and feel" or "appearance" products of the IT componenets market – chassis, power supplies and the like – says that business is about people. As the old adage goes: people buy from people. It's all about realtionships.
And, with this in mind, Yeh has introduced a whole different approach to the way his staff conduct their business.
"In places like Taiwan, the environment is very focused on products – on technology," Yeh says. "Companies seem to forget that it is people that are buying these products and technology. What we actually deal with is not just a chassis or a power supply – we deal with customers; with humans."
Yeh says that is one of the most vital aspects of business that he has introduced into Gigazone since his appointment – to the extent that he has hired the majority of his staff straight from school so that he could train and polish their skills in dealing with people and not just products.
"I've taught them that business is not just about products, quality and quantities," Yeh says. "That it is about enhancing service levels – and not just to existing customers, but to customers that are not even doing business with us.
"This is very important and is one of the reasons I have a virtual League of Nations working for me – Russians, South Africans, Spaniards, Poles. The market is competitive worldwide and my people need to be able to communicate with any customer, in any country, in any language.
"This gives us a distinct advantage over the majority of the rest of the Taiwanese manufacturers who are not really fluent even in English and who seem determined to focus solely on moving quantities," Yeh says.