Chang Yung-fa (張榮發), the billionaire founder of Evergreen Group (長榮集團) who turned a second-hand bulk carrier into Asia’s biggest container-shipping line, died yesterday. He was 88.
He died at 11:05am, Evergreen Group said in an e-mail. No cause was given.
Chang, the son of a seaman, started building his business almost five decades ago by buying a used bulk vessel and became one of the nation’s richest people. He was chairman of Taipei-based Evergreen Group, which owns Asia’s largest container fleet through Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運); EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空), the nation’s largest airline by market value; Evergreen Sky Catering Corp (長榮空廚), an airline-catering company; and hotel chain Evergreen International Hotels (長榮桂冠酒店).
Chang has a fortune of at least US$1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“The oceans and ships occupy very important places in my life,” Chang wrote in his autobiography, published in 1997.
The tycoon called himself “a natural-born son of the ocean.”
Evergreen Marine, the company that began his business empire, was established in 1968 with the used bulk vessel.
It expanded into an operator of more than 190 ships, according to information from shipping-data provider Alphaliner.
The company posted a net loss of NT$2.41 billion (US$71.25 million at current exchange rates) in the quarter ended September last year, after posting a profit a year earlier, as the global economic slowdown hurt the shipping industry.
Chang was also an advocate of closer economic relations with and China. In 2008, Taiwanese and Chinese airlines, including EVA Airways, began regular flights across the Taiwan Strait after the lifting of a six-decade ban on direct transport links.
His personal holdings as of Dec. 31 last year included 6 percent of publicly traded Evergreen Marine and 2.9 percent of EVA Airways, the nation’s largest airline by market value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
His youngest son, Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒), is chairman of EVA Airways.
Evergreen Group is the benefactor of non-profit organizations such as a maritime museum and a symphony orchestra.
Born on Oct. 6, 1927, in the northeastern coastal township of Suao (蘇澳), Chang was the third of seven children. He started working as a clerk for a Japanese shipping company as a teenager while attending night school and went on to spend 15 years as a sailor, rising to the rank of captain.
Chang became the family’s breadwinner when his father died in 1944, as his two elder brothers had married by then, according to his book.
He was married in 1953, and had four sons and a daughter.
In 1989, his son Chang Kuo-ming (張國明) was kidnapped for a US$1.9 million ransom.
The younger Chang was eventually released unharmed, while his three kidnappers were apprehended and executed the following year, The Associated Press reported at the time.
At the start of their first-ever virtual World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO member states agreed to delay a controversial discussion on granting Taiwan observer status until later in the year. The agreement came after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged to launch an independent probe to review the coronavirus pandemic response as soon as possible, and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) announced that China would provide US$2 billion over two years to fight the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. Despite the US and other members stepping up pressure in recent days, the WHA unanimously agreed to postpone a decision on observer
Another automatic 30-day visa extension for foreigners who entered Taiwan on or before March 21 this year has been granted, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced yesterday during the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily news briefing. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had granted an initial automatic 30-day visa extension on March 21 for foreigners who entered Taiwan on or before that date with a visa waiver, visitor’s visa or landing visa — and another on April 17, as part of tightened border control measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Many foreigners who arrived in Taiwan on holidays or for
PROTEST SENT: Despite a wave of international support Taiwan did not receive an invite, which means that it and all WHO members would lose out, the two ministers said Taiwan deeply regrets and is very dissatisfied that it was not invited to attend the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), which began a virtual meeting yesterday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said. During the Central Epidemic Command Center’s daily news conference, Chen, who heads the center, said that as of 2pm, Taiwan had not received an invitation to the meeting, which was to begin at 6pm Taiwan time. “We put in our efforts [to get invited] up until the last moment, but it seems that we are unlikely to be invited,
US lawmakers and officials are crafting proposals to push US companies to move operations or key suppliers out of China that include tax breaks, new rules and carefully structured subsidies. Interviews with a dozen current and former government officials, industry executives and members of Congress show widespread discussions underway — including the idea of a “reshoring fund” originally stocked with US$25 billion — to encourage US companies to drastically revamp their relationship with China. US President Donald Trump has long pledged to bring manufacturing back from overseas, but the spread of COVID-19 and related concerns about US medical and food supply chains