Computex Taipei 2004 opened with a goodbye to Stan Shih.
Acer's chairman and CEO plans to retire at the end of the year, and government and business leaders marked the occasion of his last Computex in office by presenting him with an award commemorating his contributions to Taiwan's IT industry.
Besides launching Acer 27 years ago, Shih helped create the Computex conference 20 years ago. The event has become the second-largest IT-focused conference in the world after CeBit in Germany, according to Computex.
"Stan Shih invented the [Computex] title 20 years ago. Just like Acer, he has been successful [in] turning his works into world-class products," said Frank Huang, chairman of the Taipei Computer Association. "I believe we will forever see his contribution not only to the Taiwan Computer Association, but also to Taiwan's [IT] industry. Without his contribution, there would be no high-tech industry in Taiwan."
Shih plans to spin off Dragon Soft Capital, a venture-capital business focusing on applications and services, after stepping down from Acer at the year's end. Acer President J.T. Wang is slated to take over as chairman and CEO of the $13 billion company.
Hsin-I Lin, senior adviser to the president of Taiwan, said Shih was instrumental in the development of Taiwan's technology industry.
"During the recession, companies were still engaged in R&D. They didn't sit idly by. As a result, the IT industry was driven from duplication to innovation. One person that contributed to that is Stan Shih. He is a man of innovation and vision," Lin said. "He started the Computex exhibition 20 years ago and contributed greatly to making Taiwan known in the world. Today, Computex is influential due to Stan Shih's contribution."
During a keynote speech, Shih said that IT manufacturers need to develop more products and services for the digital home, which he said will be the next big IT opportunity.
"Twenty years ago, the PC changed the work environment. Today, I think the trend of the digital home will change every facet of our lives," Shih said through a translator. "For a long time, we didn't see innovation in TVs. It has been limited, even though we [are seeing] homes become digitized. There are still many limitations, [but] there is still a lot of room for improvement."