Diplomacy Through Technology

Yvonne Chiu, WITSA’s First Woman Chair

2018 / September

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Yvonne Chiu /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

Petite and impeccably put together, Yvonne Chiu stands out in the male-dominated field of software. She is chairwoman of both the Information Service Industry Association of the ROC and the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA), and she has fought behind the scenes to enable Taiwan to host the World Congress on Information Technology, which is regarded as the “Olympics of high tech.”


Santiago Gutierrez, the former chairman of WITSA, once told Yvonne Chiu: “You are the one!” “One for what?” she thought to herself. But is it really any wonder he would regard her as a good fit to succeed him? Look at her career history: In the 1990s she moved to the United States and was a successful businesswoman there. Then she returned home to Taiwan and threw herself into the field of digital education. She grasped how there was a great digital divide between the cities and countryside, and was determined to allow children to develop computer expertise so they could compete globally. Ten years later, Chiu was elected chairwoman of WITSA, which is also committed to reducing international digital divides. “It is remarkable that one can draw such a clear line from my past to my present,” notes Chiu. “Perhaps it’s God’s arrangement, and Heaven was cultivating me to take this path.”

A Hakka girl in the US

Born to a traditional Hakka family that struggled financially, she had two older and three younger brothers. At the beginning of each school year, her parents always had to find people who would lend them money to pay the children’s school fees.

At Tam­sui’s Oxford College (now Aletheia University), she studied business administration, but she was never content just to get a comfortable office job. When she was little, a neighbor of hers who operated a clinic would always bring back sweet, rich chocolate when returning from foreign travels, she recalls. It spurred fascination with America in the young Chiu. “Back then we had heard that the sun was rounder in America and that it never set,” she laughs.

To realize her own American dream, Chiu opened a trading firm in Taiwan upon graduation. Aiming to make her mark, she then bought a plane ticket and went to America in just her early 20s.

Ending up in Seattle, Chiu started a one-person firm. It wasn’t easy. “So that people wouldn’t suspect that the company was actually just one person, when I had to sign a contract I’d show up in formal clothing, but when I was delivering goods, I’d tie up my hair, put on blue jeans and a cap, and tell people that we were twins.” It was truly a case of “one person doing two people’s jobs.” For the next step in her career, Chiu moved from gift items to furniture and from Seattle to Texas. She found some success there and realized her childhood dreams.

Bridging divides, promoting digital security

In the early 1990s, then in her early 40s and steering toward what she thought would be semi-retirement, Chiu moved from the US back to Taiwan, throwing herself into public interest work.

She soon saw that many small and medium-sized companies didn’t understand computers, even though computers and the Internet were becoming indispensable tools. Consequently, she set out to promote IT education. Noting that Microsoft was promoting accreditation for expertise in its Office suite, she established Elite IT, which became the general agent for “Microsoft Office Specialist” accreditation in Taiwan.

Chiu even dipped into her own pocket, leading teams ­every year for more than a decade to the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship. She printed name cards for the kids on each team and taught them international manners and some basic English, allowing them to use the competitions as an opportunity to make foreign friends. For herself, meanwhile, the champion­ships were a chance to network: “Winning prizes was one thing, but networking with people from around the world—that was truly unbelievable!”

Her kids performed outstandingly, winning nine championship trophies over seven years. They also thrust Taiwan into the international arena, spotlighting its skills in IT. 

But Chiu’s career growth didn’t end there. She also became a pioneer in Taiwan for promoting information security and personal data security. Chiu established the Taiwan Privacy Consultant Association and lobbied for passage of the Personal Information Protection Act. She became an important mover and shaker in the movement to promote data security in Taiwan. When Tsai Ing-wen was running for president, it was Chiu’s suggestion that Tsai adopt the slogan: “Information power is national power; information security is national security.”

Bringing the WCIT to Taiwan

In fact, Chiu originally had no background in computers and IT. Yet she threw herself into the realm of Internet and communication technology when she returned to Taiwan in the 1990s, becoming a leader in IT education and security. Apart from taking advantage of luck and opportunities, Chiu’s personal diligence also played an important role. Chiu is never afraid to ask questions of her subordinates, happy to make anyone her teacher. It is one way she gains knowledge and skills. “I’m really, really hardworking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another woman so diligent!” At this remark, Chiu herself breaks into a smile, acknowledging her own confidence.

And over the past few years, this serious and hardworking woman has garnered other impressive achievements. In 2014, she was selected as chairwoman of the Information Service Industry Association of the ROC. And in the same year, she represented Taiwan at the WITSA conference in Mexico and fought for Taiwan’s right to host the conference.

Traditionally, the WCIT has met biennially, and the board of directors had originally resolved that Taiwan would host the event in 2024 at the earliest. But because the Taiwanese government had already allocated funding, Chiu strongly pushed for Taiwan’s right to host sooner. “Technology improves daily, not yearly,” she told the conference in Mexico. “We’ve got to make the WCIT an annual event.” The comment brought an ovation. She then went on to affirm Taiwan’s commitment to supporting the event. Her efforts did the trick: Taiwan won the right to host the WCIT in 2017.

Santiago Gutierrez, then chairman of WITSA, came to Taiwan in 2015, hoping to meet figures from both the ­ruling and opposition parties. On a friend of Chiu’s referral, they met with Joseph Wu, who was then secretary-general of the Democratic Progressive Party and its representative to the United States. During the discussions, Gutierrez suggested Chiu might consider running for election as chairperson of WITSA. Holding no ambitions in that regard, Chiu was taken aback. But Wu immediately endorsed the idea. “Of course, I believe that her running for the post would be a nice bit of ‘technological diplomacy’ for us!”

Chiu would duly run and win the election to serve as chair of WITSA in 2016. She became not only WITSA’s first chairperson from Taiwan but also its first chairwoman.

Tech diplomacy

Chiu, who is up for reelection this year, remains full of innovative ideas: “Like the G20, I’d like to form an I20 [comprising nations strong in information and computer technology], which would help the IT industries in developing nations and help to bridge digital divides,” says Chiu, brimming with confidence. “Six or seven nations have already agreed in principle, and even the United States is willing to discuss the idea.”

Beyond bridging international digital divides, Chiu is working even harder at “tech diplomacy,” striving to establish connections between Taiwan and the world that can help Taiwan industry in difficult times. She recalls an experience at the United Nations: She was invited there as the WITSA chairman, but when she arrived, event staff asked, “Where do you come from?” She replied, “Taiwan.” That elicited a dismissive hand gesture and the comment, “Taiwan can’t be here.” It wasn’t until she pulled out her WITSA name card that she got reasonable treatment. The incident still rankles, and it has left Chiu even more determined to find a path forward for Taiwan.

As chair of WITSA, whose members include 82 nations, Chiu is diligently looking to establish mutually beneficial connections between Taiwan and the international community. She takes advantage of all opportunities to knock on doors when she visits member nations, having long chats with member-nation WITSA chairpersons and high-­ranking officials about IT industry policies and needs. But she wants something more from those meetings than just a friendly photograph. She follows up by pushing measures aimed at promoting and developing the IT industry in all member nations, including, of course, Taiwan. She hopes that Taiwan’s industry can form a highly skilled “A team,” which can look for appropriate opportunities to cooperate abroad, engaging in exchanges with member nations that help both sides.

This cosmopolitan woman of the world has never lost her love of Taiwan. In her person, we recognize the virtues of courage and determination, wisdom and conviction.

Relevant articles

Recent Articles

繁體 日本語



文‧鄧慧純 圖‧邱月香

嬌小的個頭,配著得宜的妝容,邱月香在多是男性主導的軟體界異軍突出,不僅身任中華民國資訊軟體協會CISAInformation Service Industry Association of R.O.C.)的會長,她更是世界資訊科技暨服務業聯盟WITSAWorld Information Technology & Services Alliance)首位女性主席,為台灣爭取到被稱為科技業「奧林匹克」盛會──世界資訊科技大會WCITWorld Congress on Information Technology)主辦權的幕後功臣。

曾被WITSA前任主席Mr. Santiago Gutierrez點名:「You are the one!」邱月香曾不知「One for what?」指的是什麼。但回首來時路,九○年代旅美的成功女企業家邱月香,歸國投身資訊教育事業,她見著了台灣城鄉、貧富的數位落差,矢志培養孩子的電腦資訊專長,未來方可與全球一較長短。十數年後,邱月香當選WITSA主席,協會宗旨亦在弭平國際數位落差,「怎麼從以前到現在做的事情居然能連成一條線,可能冥冥中上天對我有所安排,才一路栽培我。」邱月香說。








剛回國,她看見台灣很多中小企業都不懂電腦,但電腦、網路是未來不可或缺的利器,因此她著手推動資訊教育。又適逢微軟電腦在台推展Office專業認證,於是她成立翊利得資訊科技有限公司,取得Microsoft Office國際電腦專業認證MOSMicrosoft Office Specialist)台灣總代理。當時專業證照制度在台灣尚未普及,邱月香從基層做起,勤跑校園,輔導學生考取證照。一證在手,成為通行世界的國際人才。





邱月香其實完全沒有電腦資訊的背景,卻在九○年代歸國後投入資訊與通信科技(ICTInformation and Communication Technology)領域,成為台灣資訊教育與資安的先行者,這當中除了她口中常說的機運外,邱月香個人的努力佔絕大因素。職場上對女性的標準更為嚴苛,男士可以在飯席間解決生意上的爭端,但女性往往更需要展現專業,才能成功。邱月香的態度則是不恥下問,她四處去請教朋友,任何人都是她的老師,藉此累積自己,積蓄能量。「我自己很努力、很努力,我沒看過像我這麼認真的女人。」此言一出,邱月香自己笑開了,也讓我們從話語間見識了她的自信。


WCIT的傳統是雙年會,當時理監事會已經決議201820202022年分別由印度、馬來西亞、亞美尼亞舉辦,台灣最快要到2024年才有機會主辦。但由於當時台灣已備妥資源打算強力支持爭取主辦權,邱月香於是在會議中建言,她闡述「當今的世界已與以前不同,科技是每天在進步,不是每年在進步,我們一定要改變,每年籌辦WCIT。」此言一出,與會者頗有認同,立刻獲得全場掌聲。她又趁勝追擊、打鐵趁熱,表明台灣政府已同意全力支援舉辦年會,因此一舉成功爭取到WCIT 2017在台灣舉行,也是睽違17年後WCIT再次回到台北。

這其中還有一個插曲,2015WITSA前任主席Santiago Gutierrez來台,希望認識台灣的朝野人士,邱月香透過朋友引薦與時任民進黨秘書長兼駐美代表吳釗燮會面。言談間,Santiago Gutierrez跟吳釗燮提到,可否請邱月香出來參選WITSA的主席。邱月香沒意料到話題會轉到她身上,也壓根沒有這個野心,但吳釗燮立刻贊同:「當然,我相信她的競選會是一件很棒的科技外交!」



擔任WITSA主席的邱月香,在政黨輪替的當口籌備WCIT,透過朝、野、產業的支持,WCIT 2017盛況空前,展現了台灣軟體、創新與系統整合的軟實力。



不只弭平國際數位落差,邱月香更努力想以科技外交,為台灣鏈結世界,讓台灣的產業在險峻的國際情勢下走出去。她說起一次在聯合國裡的遭遇,當時她以WITSA主席受邀到聯合國,進到會場,有服務人員趨前詢問:「Where you come from?」,邱月香回他說:「Taiwan」,對方卻揮手驅趕說:「Taiwan can’t be here.」是她掏出WITSA主席的名片,才受到合理的對待。這段經驗邱月香說著說著哽咽了,也讓她在心裡更發憤為台灣找出路。





文・鄧慧純 写真・邱月香提供  翻訳・笹岡 敦子

華奢な身体に程よい化粧。邱月香は男性主導のソフトウェア業界で異色の存在である。中華民国情報サービス産業協会CISA (Information Service Industry Association of R.O.C.)会長を務めるだけでなく、世界情報サービス産業機構WITSA (World Information Technology & Services Alliance)初の女性会長も務める。情報産業のオリンピックと言われる「世界情報技術産業会議WCIT (World Congress on Information Technology)を台湾に招致した影の立役者である。

WITSA前会長サンティアゴ・グティエレス氏に「You are the one!(あなたこそがその人だ)」と言われたが、邱月香には何の「その人」なのかわからなかった。だが振り返れば、1990年代に米国へ渡り実業家として成功し、帰国して情報教育事業に取り組むと、台湾における都市部と地方、貧富のデジタルデバイドを目にし、子供たちの世界に通用する情報力を育てる決意をした。その十数年後、邱月香はWITSA会長に当選した。協会の趣旨は国際的なデジタルデバイドの解消にある。「昔からしてきたことと今が繋がったのは、きっと神様がそうして私を育てて下さったのでしょう」邱月香はいう。




















今年、連投にかける邱月香には、新しいアイディアがいっぱいある。「G20のように、I20 (ICT)を組織して、途上国の情報産業支援とデジタルデバイド解消に尽くしたい」という。「すでに6〜7カ国が同意し、米国も協議に前向きです」邱月香は自信満々である。

国際的なデジタルデバイドの解消だけでなく、邱月香は技術外交で台湾と世界を繋ごうと努める。国連での出来事である。WITSA会長として国連に招かれ、会場に入ろうとすると、係員が尋ねた。「Where you come from?(どちらから)」邱月香が「Taiwan」と答えると、「Taiwan can't be here.(台湾は入れない)」と手振りで追い払った。WITSA会長の名刺を出してようやくあるべき対応が得られた。語る内にも涙がこみ上げる。そして、なんとか台湾に活路を見出そうと決意するのだった。



X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!