Meet Startup @TW

Youtube Co-founder Steve Chen: "It’s great time for Taiwan to step up"

Business Next

“Taiwanese American entrepreneurs have been disproportionately successful,” said Steve Chen, co-founder of Youtube, who had started his one-year stay in Taipei, Taiwan with the Employment Gold Card, “but the question is what makes it different when you board a plane, cross the Pacific, and start a company in California, versus you don’t go to California?”

These entrepreneurs include not only Chen himself but also, among others, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and RedOctane co-founder Charles and Kai Huang, who co-created the popular video game series Guitar Hero, named KMT congressman Jason Hsu.

This is one of the main reasons that brought him back to the island where he was born. Compared with doing video chats in Silicon Valley with leaders from Taiwan, “it’s another thing to actually be here,” he said, to know what it’s really like in the startup community here.

“One of the things I imagine doing in the next months is to try to create something here in Taiwan,” said Chen.

Meanwhile, he hopes to “carefully jot down all the steps [he needs] to take to create a startup and see the problems [people] are facing here.”

Several weeks ago, it has been learnt from Chen himself that he will be working as an advisor for SparkLabs Taipei to deepen his understanding about Taiwan's startup ecosystem and offer help accordingly.

Steve Chen
Business Next

Drawing on his experience in Paypal’s 12-person team with the goal of building a global P2P payment service, Chen encouraged startups to “always think outside of the 23 million people in Taiwan.”

He also called for “an environment friendly to failure” and “a spirit that gets everyone to work together” as in the Silicon Valley.

As it becomes more and more difficult to launch a startup in the Silicon Valley, “it’s great time for Taiwan to step up,” he said. With lower cost of living and employable engineers, it’s much easier to do so in Taiwan.

Despite the hurdles that remain to be overcome, it would help if Taiwan can build stronger ties with the aforementioned Taiwanese American entrepreneurs that have been successful, he said.


Bryan Chou

Bryan Chou is a Taiwan-based and born journalist who writes about innovation and entrepreneurship for Business Next and Meet. Over the past five years, he has written for a student press, translated numerous magazine pieces, and worked as an intern in two startups. He believes what shapes him into who he is today is not only these experiences but the people he has interacted with and the stories he has learned from them.

He has a BA in Foreign languages and literatures from NTU. After graduation, he spent a year in Prague, traveling extensively around Europe to learn about the history and culture of the region from local people. Currently based in Taipei, he hopes to present the best of Taiwan to the world.