Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) founder Wang Yung-ching (王永慶), a local tycoon known for his business management abilities, has died at the age of 91 while on a business trip in the US, the group said yesterday.
“Wang passed away in his sleep in New Jersey at midnight,” the group said in a written statement released yesterday after several local news channels broke the news earlier in the day.
The tycoon was in the US for an inspection of the group’s factories there. His body was to be flown back to Taiwan by an EVA Airways plane early this morning, FPG said in the statement.
Wang was the nation’s second-richest man with a fortune of US$6.8 billion, a report by Forbes magazine published in June said.
Though he had retired as chairman of Formosa Plastics in 2006, he remained chairman of the boards at FPG subsidiaries and talked to the local press occasionally since then about his views on the group’s business performance and the nation’s economic prospects.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) expressed their condolences to Wang’s family.
Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said that Ma felt sad about the loss of Wang Yung-ching, describing the tycoon as an “old friend” and an “amiable elder” who had made outstanding contributions to Taiwan’s economy.
“President Ma became acquainted with Wang about 20 years ago,” the spokesman said. “The president feels sorry about the sudden death of his old friend, who he had often run with [at sporting events] and discussed national affairs.”
Siew, who had known Wang Yung-ching for about 30 years since he worked at the Bureau of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said the legacy of the plastics tycoon would live on in the minds of Taiwanese forever.
Describing Wang as a loving businessman with an international outlook, Siew said among the plastic tycoon’s contributions were establishing the Sixth Naphtha Cracker plant, Chang Gung Memorial Hospitals, medical schools and building housing for low-income families in Guatemala.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) also expressed his condolences yesterday, Executive Yuan Spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said.
Shih said Liu had talked to FPG chief executive William Wong (王文淵) on the telephone upon receiving the news and expressed his wish that the conglomerate would continue to work for Taiwan in the spirit Wang Yung-ching had demonstrated.
Shih said the government would help the Wang family with the funeral.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) lauded Wang for his untiring spirit as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Taiwan.
“Mr Wang’s experience of starting his own business and his ideals in running the enterprise are representative of the Taiwanese spirit,” Wu said in a written statement.
Wang Yung-ching witnessed the development of the country’s economy over the years, and made great contributions to the nation’s economy and many more areas, Wu said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said: “He bore witness to a generation, using his hard work and thrift to rise from poverty to wealth, helping to usher in a new era.”
“Wang Yung-ching represents the entrepreneurial spirit of Taiwan, someone that people look up to and respect,” he said.
Saying Ma had high respect for the former tycoon, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi said Ma had learned of Wang’s death on Wednesday night and immediately offered his condolences to the Wang family.
The spokesman said Ma attended more than 10 of the FPG’s annual sports activities and ran with Wang Yung-ching in the 5,000m races.
Ma was particularly impressed by Wang Yung-ching’s physical energy, will power and discipline, the spokesman said, adding that Ma remembered vividly how frugally the billionaire had lived when Wang Yung-ching and his wife invited him to have oyster noodle soup after an annual sports event two years ago.
Wang Yu-chi said that Wang Yung-ching paid great attention to efficiency and discipline when it came to company management, making FPG the most profitable business in Taiwan. The entrepreneur retained a clear mind and lived a thrifty lifestyle even after building a successful career, the spokesman said, and his success story represented the core values of Taiwan.
In addition to his devotion to the growth of his business, Wang Yu-chi said Wang Yung-ching cared about the sustainable development of the environment and social justice, especially peace and prosperity in cross-strait relations.
The spokesman said Ma admired Wang Yung-ching’s foresight about investment in China about a decade ago. His effort to build more than 10,000 schools in China also won much acclaim, he said.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan,Mo Yan-chih and Reuters
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
NO SIGN OF WAR: Only if Taiwanese showed determination to defend the nation would others be willing to help in the event of a Chinese attack, the premier said Should China launch a war against Taiwan, the military would fight to the last standing person, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said yesterday, adding that the nation has fully fleshed-out defense strategies. “Beijing has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs that it is ready to launch a full-scale war,” Yen said at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. Asked how long Taiwan could withstand an attack from China, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said: “Taiwan will not fall.” Any belligerent force that initiates acts of war would pay a heavy price, and so too would Beijing,
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
MOTHERLAND? Taiwanese who take part in China’s National Day celebrations could be fined NT$100,000 to NT$500,000 if found to have contravened Taiwanese laws The Ministry of Culture yesterday cautioned China-based Taiwanese artists against breaching Taiwanese law by taking part in China’s National Day celebrations. The ministry issued the statement following media reports that Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) is to sing a popular Chinese patriotic song titled My Motherland (我的祖國), and Angela Chang (張韶涵) is to sing Protect (守護) with Chinese entertainers at an event to mark China’s National Day on Thursday. The Mainland Affairs Council is investigating whether such behavior contravenes regulations in the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), the ministry said. If the behavior involves matters