When you think of ViewSonic, it’s hard not to think about how founder, chairman and CEO James Chu has made innovation part of the company’s fabric.
“We were one of the first companies to introduce LCD displays, LED displays, projectors for the home, and most recently, Android-based ViewPads and 3D videocameras and photoframes,” says Chu.
A native of Taiwan, Chu held a variety of sales positions before immigrating to the United States in 1986 to become president of U.S. operations for a Taiwanese keyboard manufacturer. In 1987, Chu launched Keypoint Technology Corp., a distribution company specializing in computer peripherals, such as power supplies, keyboards and computer monitors.
In 1990, Keypoint introduced the ViewSonic brand of color computer monitors. Shortly thereafter, Chu renamed the company ViewSonic to emphasize its mission and focus: to develop and deliver advanced visual display products at an affordable price.
Under Chu's leadership, ViewSonic’s distinct brand image that features three colorful finches has become a widely recognized symbol of innovation, quality and value. To date, ViewSonic products have earned more than 2,000 quality awards and recommendations.
Because of this, Chu was named one of the 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and Chase Bank. We asked him how he keeps ViewSonic on the leading edge.
Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.
During the recession, our products were still in demand, although less than traditionally. We examined our operating model carefully and redesigned our business to focus on only the most profitable product lines in our portfolio. The result? We transitioned out of traditional retail (e.g. Best Buy and the like), and reduced our revenue. But, we dramatically improved our profitability so we could invest in new product lines. During the recession, we remained a profitable company.
In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
ViewSonic is consistently innovating from a product perspective. Our business is all about innovation – we have teams both here in Walnut, CA as well as Taiwan that investigate the latest technologies to determine which will be most marketable, and then work with our manufacturing partners to produce high-quality, high-value products that integrate those technologies.
How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?
ViewSonic is a proud corporate citizen of Southern California. Our employee-partners are active in all sorts of charitable activities, both company sponsored and individually. As a company, we are strong supporters of Toys for Tots and Make-A-Wish foundation. In past years, we have participated in Habitat for Humanity, and have also been a primary sponsor of the Long Beach Dragon Boat Races.
Since Walnut is our headquarters location, we support the regional economy in many ways. First and foremost is with our logistics and warehousing efforts, as nearly all ViewSonic products destined for the US and Canada routes through the Port of Los Angeles and our warehouse here.
How to reach: ViewSonic, www.viewsonic.com
The Smart Leaders Class of 2010
In November 2010, Smart Business and Chase Bank recognized 10 business leaders for their commitment to business excellence and the impact their organizations make on the regional community. Treated to a keynote address by MemorialCare Health System CEO Dr. Barry Arbuckle, these 10 leaders composed the honor roll: