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Interview: Billionaire Walter Wang on Family, Career, Kingdom of God, Part II

( [email protected] ) Nov 22, 2013 07:30 PM EST
Just 10 days after Walter Wang purchased the company from his father, who was the wealthiest men in Taiwan then, he was diagnosed with Phase IV nasopharyngeal cancer and that he had at most a year to live unless he begins chemotherapy treatment...
Taiwanese Pastor Huang Guolun (l) interviews JM Eagle President Walter Wang (r) at "Enterprise and Eternity" 2013 Business Summit held in Shenzhen, China, from October 10th-13th. Gospel Herald

The head of the world's largest plastic pipe manufacturer was recently interviewed on his viewpoints toward work, money, family, faith and values. Walter Wang (Wang Wenxiang), president of PVC Corporation (Taiwan JM Eagle Group), is the son of the late Wang Yung-Ching, the former wealthiest man in Taiwan, who was known as the "god of management" and founder of Formosa Plastic Group.

Mr. Wang bought his father's company in 2005 with a price that is 10 percent higher than the market value and turned it from a company with less than two hundred million operating value to one with over one billion dollars. As a devout Christian, Mr. Wang was interviewed by an influential Taiwanese pastor Guolun Huang at the "Enterprise and Eternity" 2013 Business Summit that was held in Shenzhen, China, from Oct. 10-13th. 

The following is the continuation of the first part of the interview. 

Huang: Many successful entrepreneurs have trouble in the family sector. What role do you think the family plays in the development of business and life?

Wang: I am very focused on and I enjoy family life very much. Many people will spend a lot of time at work, but in fact more than half of human life is spent at work.

Home, for me, is very important. Every week, I have to eat at least five meals with them. Actually, meal times are very important, because we can benefit from chatting to increase understanding between family members. Material things are not that important to the children, but the time that parents give to them is hundreds and thousands times more important. My father was busy, and he was thinking about how to better and grow his enterprise every day, and how the company is going to contribute to the world. He had very little time to spend with us, so I cherish my family life.

No matter how much success the company has or how high it ranks in the world, it can become empty in the end. The only legend you can make depends on whom you have loved and who loved you. I think this is the real legend of life.

Huang: What role does faith play in your life, and how does it tie in with career management?

Wang: I am a third generation Christian, the first generation being my grandfather. Taiwan was a very poor country between 1920 and 1930. There were American missionaries evangelizing in Taiwan, and my grandfather would often be attracted to the praise at church. One day, a church worker invited my grandfather into the church, and soon he was baptized and became Christian.

At that time, my grandfather was poor, and he did not have extra money to help other poor people, but he had a habit of inviting 4 or 5 beggars to the house, and helping them bathe, changing their clothes, and giving them some food. Because he had no money, so he would help them with these methods. I think that what the previous generation does will bless the next generation, and because my grandfather's love, my father is also blessed. I am not saying that my father did not work hard, but his distinctive achievement is attributable to receiving God's blessing, and the blessing is passed down from generation to generation. This is our faith.

Our Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with the Father God. Faith is to develop a more intimate relationship with our Father day after day.

Huang: Many people think that God's blessings can remove all our difficulties, but are you really free of obstacles in the operations of the company? And how do you face these difficulties?

Wang: I think it is by praying every day. I just said the journey of life is quite bitter, and we often encounter operational and financial difficulties. In 2005, my father sold the company to me, but after 10 days, I was diagnosed with Phase IV nasopharyngeal cancer. The doctor told me that if it was not treated immediately, I could only live for a year or so. This was the challenge of my life.

After experiencing the cancer, I was very grateful to the Lord. He has given me this experience, to let me grow closer to and have a better understanding of God in the five months and 195 hours of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I think this is a pretty big blessing. Life is a misery, but we have to constantly overcome difficulties, but this is not possible by our own ability, but to rely on God.

In the enterprise, there are many problems that we do not have ways to overcome. Although we do not have the ability, God can help us, and the way to reach out to Him is to pray and seek God to help. As long as our hearts are put in the right place, God will bless us.

Huang: How does your work and business relate to the kingdom of God?

Wang: At the time when I had just bought my father's company, and diagnosed with cancer, I went back to Hong Kong for treatment. There was no time to communicate with my colleagues about the management of the company. And my company is a downstream processing industry, facing strong competitions in the United States, and it resulted in a significant amount of debt. If the situation did not improved, then it was difficult to stay in business. So I prayed to God, entrusted the company to Him, and let Him be the chairman of the board. In just five months, God had cleared half of the company's debt.

When we are most vulnerable, that is when God can work on us the most. I am not as capable as my father, but I promise to make the company flourish, so I give it to God, and by God, it flourished. In my faith, I must keep close to Jesus, and give my weakness to Jesus. In the face of the U.S. economic recession, I received a lot of challenges, but God went through them with me, step by step. So before I make any important decisions, I will think of God, and let God guide me to the best path.

I pray for one thing every day, and that is for God to give me the wisdom to make the best decision, because this is the way of the kingdom of God, not my way.

I encourage every one in the work force to promote the Gospel.

Finally, in response to a question asked by a guest from a remote mountainous area of Sichuan, about how to establish and promote the Gospel satisfactorily in the remote regions, Wang said that businesses and work places are very influential, so as long as each one of the brothers and sisters sets a good example in their work places, to try their best to promote the Gospel, we can then let every Chinese member enjoy the Gospel message, which is the main purpose of organizing this event.

[Editor's note: Carol Lee translated the article.]