Mon, Jan 13, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Jan Hung-chi is one of nation's Web innovators

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Publisher Jan Hung-chi is known for his love of innovation and quick adoption of the Internet as a medium for his ventures.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

Despite working for Hong Kong media tycoon Li Ka-shing's (李嘉誠) Tom.com, Jan Hung-chi (詹宏志) hasn't let his ambitions slip when it comes to Taiwan's media industry.

Jan plans to play a more active role in the nation's publishing industry over the next three years following his election last Friday as chairman of the Magazine Business Association of Taipei.

Calling himself an "old editor," Jan's actions have always attracted the attention of media professionals.

In a speech to the association's board members, Jan vowed to launch a program offering a Masters of Business Administration in Publishing in order to improve training for the industry and to improve the competitiveness of Taiwan's publishing industry.

From launching PC Home in 1996, one of Taiwan's first personal-computing magazines, to founding the nation's first online newspaper, the Tomorrow Times, in 2000, Jan has been one of the country's leading Internet innovators.

Jan predicts businesses will increasingly charges fees for services offered on the Internet.

The Tomorrow Times shut down on Feb. 21, 2001, a week after its first anniversary, because of a lack of funds.

The failure of the online paper resulted in the media having doubts about Jan's ability to forecast business trends, but Jan remains confident that the Internet is where the future of business lies.

Despite those doubts, Jan became the chief executive officer of the top book and magazine publisher in the greater China area, Cite Publishing Ltd (城邦集團), which belongs to Tom.com and now owns more than 40 magazines in Taiwan.

"He always knows where he is going," said Chen Yu-hang (陳雨航) of Yifang Publishing, who used to work with Jan.

Su Shih-ping (蘇拾平), Jan's college classmate from National Taiwan University and a colleague at Cite Publishing, said that Jan is an innovator and one who follows through on his ideas.

"A major in economics, he is practical and always carefully evaluates every move," Su said.

"In our negotiations with Hong Kong businessmen, I think he did a great job," he added.

Tom.com bought Taiwan's Business Weekly Publishing in December 2001 following its acquisition of PC Home Publication Group, Cite Publishing and Sharp Point Publishing in May 2001.

As well as his enthusiasm for the Internet, Jan's close ties with two rival Hong Kong tycoons, Li Ka-shing and Jimmy Lai (黎智英), make him one of the most unique media professionals in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

Lai helped Jan solve the financial difficulties left by the Tomorrow Times and hired some of the newspaper's staff after its closure. While also working for Li, Jan has written for Lai's Next magazine since the publication was launched in 2001.

Jan's goals for the Chinese-language market are believed to be the reason for his close ties to the two tycoons.

According to his friends, Jan's curiosity makes him a creative and fun individual with a wide vision of the media.

Jan likes to share the story about how he learned of the convenience that online businesses can bring to consumers. When the online business was just developing, Jan ordered a cake from the US over the Internet. The cake arrived after a few weeks and, while it was no longer fresh, the case proved how far business can be done through the Internet.

Su said Jan is one who looks ahead.

"As a publisher, he has demonstrated a pioneering vision. Time has proven him right," Su said.

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