Acer founder Stan Shih will represent Taiwan at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting to be held in Sydney next month.
One of Taiwan's most prominent businessmen, Shih built Acer from a small startup into one of the world's biggest computer companies. He retired from Acer in December 2004, handing the company's reins to J.T. Wang, the current chairman and CEO.
Shih's appointment as Taiwan's representative to the APEC meeting was announced in a brief statement (in Chinese) released by Taiwan's Office of the President.
Founded in 1989, APEC has 21 members and was created as a forum to address issues related to economic growth and trade in the region. Taiwan's status in the organization is a sensitive issue, as China claims the island is a renegade province and does not want it to be recognized internationally. The two sides separated in 1949 after a civil war that forced the former Nationalist government to flee to Taiwan and led to the founding of the People's Republic of China.
As a result, Taiwan joined APEC under the name Chinese Taipei and top government officials are not permitted to participate in the meetings, even as the heads of other countries attend.
Shih is not the first businessman to represent Taiwan at the annual APEC meeting. Last year, Morris Chang, the founder and chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., represented Taiwan at the meeting. The island nation was represented at the 2005 APEC meeting by Lin Hsin-i, chairman of the government-backed Industrial Technology Research Institute and a former vice premier of Taiwan.