Growing up in Ping Tung, Taiwan, Chang worked part-time at a small bowling alley owned by his parents, and picked up on managerial skills at a young age. When he was studying in school, he had an insight that the computer industry would soon become predominant in both the business world and in the lives of ordinary people. After receiving a masters degree in computer science from Lehigh University, Chang returned to Taiwan and worked for Hewlett-Packard as a software salesman.
Foreseeing the importance of software translation, together with friends he invested US$50 000 in buying out the copyright of a database program from the USA, which was later translated into Chinese. While initial sales were successful, illegal copies of the software soon followed. This helped Chang realize the growth potential of computer security software.
Soon after, in 1988, Chang started a new company, Trend Micro, along with Jenny Chen, his wife and entrepreneurial partner. Started in an office located in a California parking lot, the business headquarters soon moved back to Taiwan, although Chang insisted that the R&D center should stay in the USA. Under his leadership, the recruitment of highly-skilled software engineers from around the world became major company policy. All Chang’s strategic actions were based on his belief that successful Asian software companies must be rooted in exceptional human resources and a superior knowledge base.
Over the years, the company has experienced three major brand-building processes: an OEM for Intel, struggling for autonomy, and centralization. By 2004, Trend Micro had earned first prize at the Top Taiwanese International Brand Awards, with a brand value nearing NT$25.9 billion. Today the company is still growing at a steady pace, with its main focus on information security for enterprises of various sizes, while still maintaining a minor but important role in anti-virus software for endusers.
Currently, Chang travels around the world to keep abreast of his global business and customers, as well as to search for new opportunities in innovative business software. As the company’s research and development are based on diverse customer needs and knowledge, innovations and structural changes at Trend Micro have become increasingly customer-oriented, resulting in continual growth in recent years. For example in Japan, Trend Micro has generated sales that amount to almost half of their global total. Furthermore, Chang has led the company in expanding their business into emerging markets, including mainland China, Eastern Europe and India. More recently, Chang and Chen have sponsored a number of social entrepreneurship activities such as the establishment of Flow Venture Capital. Chang’s advice for young people is always ‘If I can do it, you can do it too!’ After achieving business success, he is seeking new ways to serve as a mentor and facilitator and to contribute to society.
Chang’s managerial style has greatly influenced the corporate culture of Trend Micro, and innovation and a relaxed atmosphere are stressed in the working environment. Viewing the world with a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude, Chang always speaks with a loud and confident voice, and believes that failure is not a big deal it is only natural. Such a philosophy has given Chang the courage to bounce back every time that he has experienced difficult challenges.
However, even with Chang’s adventurous personality, he ensures that the future growth of Trend Micro will always be based on its solid foundation of information security. For Chang, the key to a successful business is strategy, and its implementation is basically a process of careful trade-offs. For instance, while competitors were expanding their product lines horizontally, Trend Micro focused on vertical integration to enrich their products’ functionality, thus enhanced their business competitiveness. Extending from this product-focused strategy, Chang and Chen have successfully set up an internal FAME (Focus, Alliance, Major accounts, and Experts) program, and the company has faithfully adhered to this approach, even when facing serious challenges during its various developmental stages.