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Taiwan's entrepreneurs seeking success overseas
Publication Date : 02-01-2014
Sensing that his once-enviable job could no longer provide an escape from his comfort zone, Alex Kuo decided to quit and pursue his dream, and so he opened his own wedding photo workshop in Melbourne in 2010.
Kuo used to be a software engineer at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), a profession considered by others as the top of the island's social pyramid.
Two years after Kuo relocated to another high-tech job in Australia, the American financial tsunami hit the world, as well as Kuo's career.
“It was like an unexpected, abrupt turn for the worse when I learned my job was at risk — everything was suddenly up in the air” Kuo told The China Post. “However, it seems as if another door to a new world had just opened for me,” he added.
Having taken up photography in university, Kuo had always dreamed of becoming a professional photographer, except that he had never done what it took to fulfill his ambitions. “Believing that I could do even better as a professional photographer than as an excellent engineer in a larger institution, I decided to take a chance by leaving my job to make my dream come true,” said Kuo. In 2011, he embarked on his dream career as a wedding photographer by establishing Mighty Vision in Melbourne.
After overcoming teething problems, Kuo rose to fame and completed a transition to a professional photographer over a two-year period.
Over the last two years, Alex Kuo has won awards in Taiwan, Australia and the international photography community, including the International Loupe Awards Competition, Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Victorian Epson Professional Photography Awards, and Taiwan Top 20 Wedding photographers of the year.
Compared to other countries in Europe and America, which mainly focus on videography, Taiwan's wedding photography style is natural, lively and diverse.
“On the basis of those inherited advantages coupled with personal innovations as well as exposure to the multicultural environment in Australia, which is also the holy grail of international wedding photography and has a better industry foundation, I believe there will be a day when I will fulfill my dream,” Kuo said.
Kuo is one among a growing number of young, capable Taiwanese adults who are seeking entrepreneurial success overseas, presenting a contrast to the declining entrepreneurial spirit in Taiwan proper.
'Small-market Mentality' Imperils Taiwan's Entrepreneurial Spirit
In the 2013 World Competitiveness Scoreboard released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Taiwan ranked first in the entrepreneurship category.
Ironically, Lee Kai-fu, a Taiwanese-American businessman and former CEO of Google in China, in late October made some controversial comments regarding Taiwan's business climate for innovation and entrepreneurship, lamenting what he described as the island's “small-market mentality”.
Lee encouraged local entrepreneurs to develop their businesses with an eye toward international expansion, either in mainland China, English-speaking markets, or elsewhere.
A Taiwanese university professor earlier told the locally based Global View Magazine, “Simply put, our young men do not think big, and have no intention of changing the world.” He emphasised that the government should do more to offer younger generations more opportunities to try and venture further so as to help them to stand up, to move around, and to lead the nation.