[Column] Taiwanese Woman Starting WiMAX Service

Jun 11, 2008
Yasushi Uchida, Nikkei Electronics
Rosemary Ho from Global Mobile of Taiwan
Rosemary Ho from Global Mobile of Taiwan
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

"Which would you prefer to dating, a beautiful woman or a rich woman? I'd certainly date both if I were a man!"

I had the chance to meet a Taiwanese businessperson who talked about her passion for new business using expressions that made her "sound like an old man." Her name is Rosemary Ho. She is a celebrity, whom "I've only seen in newspapers and economic magazines," said a Taiwanese who accompanied me.

Ho, who once was known well as managing director of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Taiwan Ltd, is the chair of Global Mobile Corp of Taiwan and CEO of Consortium of Mobile Broadband now. Global Mobile is one of the six companies licensed to run WiMAX services in Taiwan. Ho is leading the establishment of a new WiMAX service business, exerting her powerful leadership.

The entire nation of Taiwan is currently out to develop the WiMAX industry. Taiwan holds a global share of more than 80% in terms of the production of WiFi products on a volume basis. The Taiwanese government is raising its goal to "build up its third RMB1 trillion (approximately ¥3.5 per RMB) industry after the semiconductor and LCD industries" by maintaining its momentum in WiMAX following WiFi.

WiMAX services in Taiwan, which are slated to begin at the end of 2008 or later, will be a test case for this goal.

Global Mobile disclosed its platform for WiMAX services ahead of its rivals in May 2008. Its strategy is "to outpace other carriers on the basis of the richness of content, instead of the number of base stations and service areas," Ho said. Global Mobile will allow users to enjoy a range of both fee-based and free content on WiMAX handsets with a fixed monthly charge, according to Ho.

The company will serve and charge fees for advertisements on news, sports and other free content, while charging users for viewing movies and playing online games.

Behind this strategy lies its sober view that "Earning profits from mobile Internet business is very difficult," Ho said. That is why the company is trying to gain profits by offering attractive content, not by simply providing measures for communications.

Ho, who was speaking and gesturing enthusiastically in both Chinese and English, aims to "gain 2.4 million users in the future." Despite the skepticism of many toward the success of WiMAX services, can Ho, a typical energetic Taiwanese businessperson, make the business a success? I will keep an eye on things.


Correction Notice: In the fourth paragraph of the article, we incorrectly stated that the Taiwanese government is raising its goal to build up its third RMB1 trillion industry. In fact, the scale of the industry is NT$1 trillion.