HTC exec leaves to start AI company - Taipei Times
Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - Page 12 News List

HTC exec leaves to start AI company

TECHNOLOGICAL LEAP:The opportunities presented by artificial intelligence are too good to pass up, Chang Chia-lin said, adding that he has achieved his objectives at HTC

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

HTC Corp (宏達電) yesterday announced the departure of Chang Chia-lin (張嘉臨), president of its smartphone and connected devices business, amid an ongoing management shake-up at the company.

Chang said that he is leaving to start a new company offering artificial intelligence (AI) services to enterprises.

The new company is expected to be registered after the Lunar New Year holiday, Chang said, adding that it would have a Taiwan-based unit.

The tremendous opportunities presented by the emergence of AI are simply too compelling to pass up, Chang said on his decision to leave HTC.

AI could be the biggest technological leap since the invention of fire and electricity, Chang was quoted as saying in local Chinese-language media reports.

Chang, a former partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, joined HTC in 2012 as chief financial officer. He was appointed president of HTC’s global sales in December 2013, before being made president of the smartphone and connected devices business early last year.

As smartphones become increasingly commoditized, survival of brands depends on their operating scale and ability to differentiate themselves, he said, adding that even vertically integrated giants, such as Samsung Electronic Co, have been losing market share in China.

“You have to go where the tide takes you,” Chang said, adding that he has completed near-term objectives for HTC’s restructuring.

The announcement of Chang’s departure came after local media reported that HTC chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) on Tuesday revealed restructuring plans that would consolidate HTC’s smartphone and virtual reality (VR) businesses into a single department.

Last month, HTC chief operating officer David Chen (陳文俊) tendered his resignation as the company completed the sale of its non-HTC branded smartphone development unit to Google, while former North Asia president Jack Tong (董俊良) resigned in April last year.

Wang has said that the company is consolidating its organization and resources in anticipation of the arrival of 5G mobile networks, when exponentially faster wireless connections are expected to enable new VR and augmented reality (AR) applications that would transform the smartphone industry.

The restructuring would help balance the resources between the company’s ailing smartphone business and help build up sales streams from its newer VR and AR businesses, industry observers said.

HTC yesterday said it was grateful to Chang for his contribution to the company over the past six years.

Its operations would not be affected by Chang’s departure, HTC said, adding that regional presidents in Taiwan, North America, Europe, North Asia and China have been asked to oversee HTC’s smartphone, AR and VR businesses.

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