Company: Howren Trading Co., Ltd
Walking into the newly established Howren Trading office in Thailand, we could easily sense the atmosphere of promising beginnings and brand-new opportunities. Miss Willowy P.L., speaking Chinese with a gorgeous smile, greeted us at the doorway. Despite previous contacts in English via e-mail, this young lady of Thai origin impressed us right from the beginning with her fluency in Chinese, Thai, and English. Talent with such multi-linguistic capabilities is in demand by Taiwanese companies wishing to expand their business into Southeast Asia. This led to Howren’s recruitment of Willowy, facilitated by a “One-on-One Employment Meetings” event organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2015.
Willowy told us about her ties with Taiwan. Her parents are Thais of Chinese descent; her interest in and passion for Chinese language and culture were inspired by her brother as they learned Chinese together when they were young, and she has continued to study the language ever since. When she was in high school, she came to Taiwan for a 21-day around-the-island study tour sponsored by the Taiwanese government. This left a deep impression of Taiwan on her. Later on, she went to China for a one-month summer Chinese-language training course. Her interest in Taiwan was held, however, by the soft power associated with Leehom Wang, F4 and other popular figures in the island’s entertainment industry; and so, during her senior-year studies in international trade at Bangkok University, she came to study in Taiwan’s Chengchi University on a scholarship. She truly enjoyed the international study environment at Chengchi University, and the freedom to express her views and perspectives. For postgraduate studies Willowy wanted to live in a different city, and so chose to study in the Graduate School of Management at Cheng Shiu University in Kaohsiung.
The main factor that led to a further tightening of her relationship with Taiwan was a “One-on-One Employment Meetings” event organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This event gave pre-registered overseas personnel the opportunity to meet and interview directly with Taiwanese firms spanning various sectors. It was through this event, too, that Howren Trading found its ideal recruit in Willowy: one who is fluent in Thai, Chinese and English, and also capable of conducting business in Thailand.
To take advantage of the career development potential offered by Howren, Willowy started her work there in September 2015. In the beginning, Howren’s parent company in Taiwan put her through an 8-month training program which included familiarization with the company’s silicone products and rotation through various departments from sales, procurement, and finance to human resources. Then she started to work on sales development in Thailand (including choosing office and factory locations) and local personnel recruitment, with back-up support from IT and sales personnel sent by the Taiwan headquarters on short-term dispatch. She is to shoulder the responsibility for expansion projects to other countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Indonesia, by next year.
Willowy also shared her observations on Thai students’ preferred destinations for overseas study. For those who aim to improve their English proficiency, the US, Australia, and New Zealand are most attractive, with international schools in the Philippines and India being secondary options. For those interested in the Chinese language, Taiwan and China are top choices, though generally Taiwan is more preferred. However, Southeast Asian students who want to remain in Taiwan have to improve their Chinese proficiency in order to be hired by Taiwanese companies.
In Willowy’s case, it took only one month to obtain the visa required to work in Taiwan. She truly enjoyed her time in Taiwan, mainly because of the friendly people, enjoyable places, delicious food, and comprehensive medical care system. Willowy thinks that financial support, especially generous scholarships, will be the key to boosting the willingness of Southeast Asian students to study in Taiwan.
Willowy said that working in Taiwan has strengthened her emotional attachment to the island. She is determined to grasp the opportunity presented by her job with Howren to pursue her career in management and administration. She hopes that more people will see the beauty and the upside of Taiwan and that the island will be able to enhance its national image, which is often undervalued. We are happy to see a Thai recruit play an important role in Taiwan-based Howren Trading’s market expansion into Southeast Asia, where it serves as a bridge between Taiwan and the ASEAN market.