American tech geniuses of Asian descent have proved their worth time and again, as they have either established or they are leading some of the biggest organizations there.
The first wave of Asian immigration to America started way back in the 1850s, but it took them more than a century to make their presence felt in America’s business industry. When assimilated into American society and polity through laws and regulations, the sons and daughters of hard-working labourers, who were early Asian migrants, took little time to assert their authority in business boardrooms. Be it a Steve Jobs, Amar Bose or a Sehat Sutardja, their contribution to American business is highly celebrated and well documented.
Here’s a list of 7 Geniuses of Asian Descent Who Helped Shape American Tech
7) Sehat Sutardja
Sehat Sutardja is a great success story from Indonesia who lived his American dream through establishing Marvell Technology Group in 1995. In its 25 years, the company has expanded to 6,000 employees and has a mind-boggling 10,000 patents to its name.
Watch: Sehat Sutardja at University of California, Berkeley
Sutardja was born to a Chinese Indonesian family in Jakarta in 1961. He moved to the US in 1980 and pursued a bachelors from Iowa State University, and his Ph. D. from University of California, Berkeley, in electrical engineering and computer science. He met his future wife Weili Dai at Berkeley. The couple went on to establish Marvell Technology.
6) Jeong Hun Kim
Jeong Hun Kim is a classic example of a rags-to-riches story. Kim established Yurie Systems in 1992 and went on to lead technology giants like Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs. He co-founded Kiswe Mobile Inc. in 2013 and became its executive chairman. However, his path to stardom was full of thorns.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1960, in a broken family, Kim’s parents divorced when he very young. He was brought up by different relatives until destiny took him to the US in 1975 at the age of 14.
Jeong Hun Kim could barely speak English and had no money to pay his school fees. He had to work at a 7-Eleven to finance his studies.
But he never broke down under pressure and won a scholarship at John Hopkins University where he earned his bachelors and masters. He pursued a Ph. D. from the University of Maryland in reliability engineering. In 1992, he borrowed against his house and credit card to establish Yurie Systems. Kim never looked back and scripted a fine chapter in the history of Asian Americans.
5) James Chu
Like Bill Gates, the most celebrated American story of a college dropout leading the biggest company in the world, James Chu also has his place in Taiwanese folklore. Born in Taiwan in 1957, a College dropout, Chu is the founder, chairman and CEO of ViewSonic Corporation, the world’s leading company of visual solutions.
He had humble beginnings. His first job was to sell Chinese-English dictionaries and English-language instruction tapes. He migrated to the US in 1986 as the American head of a small keyboard Taiwanese company. A year later, he established Keypoint Technology Corp which was renamed ViewSonic in 1990. ViewSonic, one of the biggest companies in the US of its kind, specializes in visual display technology—including liquid-crystal displays, projectors, and interactive whiteboards.
4) Tony Hsieh
At just 46, Tony Hsieh has achieved what could be a dream for many entrepreneurs in America. Born to migrated Taiwanese parents in Illinois in 1973, Hsieh established advertising network site LinkExchange in 1996, and in just two years sold it to Microsoft for an eye-popping $265 million. More success came when he joined online selling company Zappos.com in 1999 as an advisor and investor. He became the CEO and soon took the company from its meagre earnings to a billion-dollar enterprise.
He proved his mettle again when in 2009, Amazon purchased Zappos.com for a whopping $1.1 billion.
A Harvard University graduate, Hsieh retired from Zappos in August this year after 21 years at the helm. However, his long stay at the company left him $840 million richer.
Watch: Tony Hsieh’s Top 10 Rules For Success
3) Pehong Chen
A Taiwan-born US immigrant, Chen envisaged online shopping when even Jeff Bezos hadn’t established Amazon Inc. He founded BroadVision, an internet e-commerce pioneer company, in 1993. It took him little time to scale greater heights and by the time dotcom bubble burst, BroadVision’s share reached a split-adjusted high of over $20,000 per share.
Watch: Pehong Chen on the Foundation of Thinking
A computer science graduate from the National Taiwanese University, Chen earned his masters from Indiana University before pursuing a Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkley. He has also played key roles in other success stories of Silicon Valley. In 1993, he provided funding for Siebel Systems, a leader in customer relationship management software (acquired by Oracle in 2005). Chen was also an angel investor in Sina (Nasdaq: SINA), the leading internet portal and microblogging service in China.
2) Amar Bose
Amar Gopal Bose founded Bose Corporation, an audio equipment company. He brought about revolutionary changes in acoustic and sound technology and produced one of the finest products in his field. Bose was born in n Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1929, to a Bengali Hindu father, Noni Gopal Bose and an American mother of French and German ancestry, Charlotte.
Amar Bose’s father was an Indian freedom fighter who was jailed for his political activities.
His father fled Bengal in the 1920s to avoid further persecution at the hands of the British Indian police. Bose, a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, established the Bose Corporation in 1964.
Watch: Amar Bose on his Life Experiences
1) Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs’ company Apple gave this world the first personal computer in 1977. Its mobile phones and Mac laptops set the bar high in their respective fields and changed the industry forever. But not many know that Steve Jobs’ biological father was Syrian.
Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, to Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble, and was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs.
Jandali grew up in Homs, Syria, and pursued a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, where he met Schieble, a Catholic of Swiss and German descent.
However, a year after his birth, Jobs was put up for adoption. He was brought up by Paul and Clara who moved to Monta Loma neighborhood of Mountain View, California. It was here that Jobs took his early footsteps in technology and went on to become a gamechanger.