Acer's Shih Touts Internet as Organizational Model

TAIPEI (06/12/2000) - Corporations need to adopt the Internet as an organization model to ensure a smooth transition to the digital economy, Acer Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stan Shih said here on Monday.

Acer has already restructured along the lines of what Shih, in a speech to the World Congress on Information Technology, called the Internet organization protocol, with the group's executive committee becoming a virtual headquarters for the companies that make up the group, under a model that Shih likened to small networks connected together just like the Internet itself.

Shih, who over the years has repeatedly reinvented Acer through business and management concepts such as the fast-food and client/server models, admitted that the new management philosophy is still somewhat immature, or at "version 0.5," but said he is convinced that it is the right way to go.

"The Internet organization meets the needs of a democratic society," Shih said.

The idea is that by creating many small but independent units, the group can allow managers to flourish without interference from the top, thus making better use of talented employees.

Shih noted that the model is particularly suited to Asian nations such as Taiwan, where 95 percent of companies are small and medium-sized.

"One out of six people on the streets of Taipei is a chairman," Shih quipped.

The Internet organization model can also be adopted by small companies to create networks that will allow them to overcome the relatively small size of each individual business and act globally, Shih said.

"The successful business model here (in Taiwan) will be different than in the U.S," Shih said.

Although Acer currently is positioning itself as an Internet enabler, Shih said in a question-and-answer session that direct Internet revenue still makes up only a small part of the group's revenue, which in 1999 totalled US$8.5 billion.

Focusing on Internet-enabling products, services and technologies, Shih predicted, will allow Acer to become one of the world's leading IT groups in the Internet era.

Acer, in Taipei, Taiwan, can be reached at +886-2-2696-1234, or via the Web at http://www.acer.com/.

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