Established in 2009 and celebrated every May, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month was created to appreciate the achievements and cultural heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The month holds immense significance in celebrating the diverse tapestry of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, and their invaluable contributions within the US. Immigrating from a diverse range of countries, and carrying with them a diaspora of languages, traditions, and histories, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are part of what makes the United States the beautifully diverse country that it is. This month provides an opportunity to honor the interconnected narratives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, acknowledging both their struggles and triumphs, and celebrating the remarkable contributions they have made to our world.
In this spirit, we sat down with Wei-Chung Wang, Kdan Mobile’s co-founder and CEO, a trained economist and professor, and overall a prominent Asian American voice in the business scene. A Taiwanese American himself, Wang sheds light on how Taiwanese values have helped him and his company thrive, his take on growing his career in Taiwan and the US, and the significance of creating a culturally diverse team.
1. What two things do you love most about Taiwanese and American cultures?
There are many commonalities between the two cultures. America is a country of immigrants. Although Taiwan is not a multi-racial society, the inflow of immigrants over the past four centuries has shaped Taiwanese society in a way that is similar to American society.
In general, Taiwanese culture embraces diversity, and its people are extremely friendly. The cultural openness has been reflected in how Taiwan has taken in a constant flow of immigrants over the past years.
As a person who has spent significant time immersed in both American and Taiwanese cultures, I’d say I find it effortless to navigate both societies; they are both friendly, respecting and embracing diversity, and I should not forget this: both have great food!
2. What are the advantages of your Asian American background in the business and management setting?
My Asian American background gives me a unique perspective in understanding what my people need. Putting the right people in the right places is critical, and knowing where people come from and how to draw value from their different experiences will only help enhance the business position.
Being a person who has been educated and worked in both Asia and America, my experience has helped me gauge effectively what my team needs in terms of mentoring and skill development training.
3. What challenges and benefits does an Asia-based company face when expanding into the US market?
Building a team of different backgrounds takes a lot of effort, and keeping a diverse team cohesive and in sync requires more careful thought.
However, I’d argue, based on my own experiences in managing diverse teams, the benefits of having a geographically diverse team are tremendous. It is almost mandatory to diversify our ideas when running a marketing team, thus having a team consisting of members from different backgrounds is the very first step. The cultural competency required to enter and thrive in the US market also makes it necessary to have a diverse team, which helps the company refine its mission to cater to the market needs.
This is the key value that Asia-based businesses bring to the table; we are very accommodating, and we understand what it takes to fit into the US business landscape.
4. Which values does Kdan share with the US market as an Asia-based company?
- We are sustainability-focused
- We value creativity and understand that is what differentiates individuals.
- We believe that the most efficient workflow does not usually require the most expensive solutions
- We embrace diversity. Diversity and inclusivity are not just a slogan in our day-to-day operations; we build a team of talents from different backgrounds.
5. What Taiwanese values have helped Kdan thrive and succeed overall?
First, our team is humble and dedicated to taking in feedback from the market to improve customer experience. In addition, we may start small, but we have our eyes on big markets. The Taiwanese values ingrained in our company culture always call for us to stay focused and dedicated, just like how Taiwanese people cultivated their land and planted their crops during the agricultural era – we believe that small and incremental efforts will ultimately pay off.
6. How does Kdan maintain an inclusive culture in an international team?
We internally try not to use geographic locations to label our members; we are a global team with talents in different time zones. We apply the same inclusivity awareness traits others might use to differentiate; we welcome differences, and we are pious believers in how inclusivity advances, not hinder, business results and progress.
7. What advice would you give to Asia-based companies looking to enter the US market in a post-COVID environment?
I would say the endeavor of entering the US market should start with team building; Valuing talents and embracing the ideas of inclusivity and diversity require cultural competency.
The cultural competency requirement should permeate through the company’s mission and its hiring practices. Having the right team in place gives you the best shot at tackling a market you have little knowledge about, and being able to navigate the cultural differences with the right people provides you with the tools you need to win business.
Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month All Year Long
A huge thanks to Wei-Chung Wang for taking time out of his busy schedule to allow us to interview him! His story illuminates a common theme for many Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants: holding true to your culture and values from home allows you to thrive in the US melting pot. Wang’s Asian American background has provided incomparable leverage for understanding his team’s needs while expanding upon the opportunities offered in the US business realm.
While challenges exist for companies expanding into the US market, the benefits of diverse perspectives and cultural competency are profound.
Kdan Mobile, as an Asian company, embodies values of sustainability, creativity, and inclusivity. We invite you to explore our company, embrace diversity, and join us in shaping a more inclusive future.