Updated: 2008-10-17 07:40
TAIPEI: Wang Yung-ching, a businessman who built his Formosa Plastics Group into Taiwan's biggest and most profitable manufacturing conglomerate, has died in the United States, the group announced here Thursday. He was 91.
The second richest man in Taiwan with a personal fortune of $6.8 billion set up Formosa Plastics Corp in 1954.
The conglomerate covers biotechnology, petrochemical processing and electronic components production and comprises more than 40 companies employing nearly 100,000 people.
Known as the "God of Management" in Taiwan, the father of 10 not only made a significant contribution to Taiwan's economic prosperity, but also attached great importance to the exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Straits. In the years before his death, he made repeated calls for the acceleration and expansion of trade and economic cooperation with the mainland.
Formosa Group has a number of petrochemical and plastic enterprises on the mainland, and Wang donated his own money to help build 10,000 primary schools on the mainland. The project is now under way. Also, soon after the Sichuan earthquake, the Formosa Group donated 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) to the victims. Even after he left his day-to-day role at the company in 2006, Wang continued to fascinate Taiwan society with his comings and goings, including his frequent trips to the mainland as he advocated stronger cross-Straits relations.
Taiwan "president" Ma Ying-jeou Thursday praised Wang for his "outstanding contributions to Taiwan" and for promoting a vision of peace and prosperity with the mainland.
Wu Poh-hsiung, chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, said: "Wang's entrepreneurial spirit and business sense represent the best of Taiwan."
Born in Taiwan to a tea farmer in 1917, when the island was still a Japanese colony, Wang began his career as an apprentice at a rice shop before going on to found Formosa Plastics, according to a "Who's Who in Taiwan" government website.