Cher Wang is the daughter of one of the richest men in the world. Her late father, Wang Yung-Ching, founded the Formosa Plastics Group, and was considered the second richest man in Taiwan before his death. Two of Cher Wang’s siblings serve on Formosa’s seven-member executive team. Charlene Wang, another sibling, helped found First International Computer in 1980, which produces motherboards. Cher Wang herself is chairwoman of HTC and VIA Technologies, a company that develops silicon chip technology (Holson 2008).
Cher Wang admits in an interview that, “My family was very strict”. Born in Taipei in 1958, she was one of seven children raised by her father’s second wife (he had nine children total by three wives). As a little girl, her father would take her on monthly visits to a local hospital he helped fund; this was how Cher Wang first became aware of philanthropy. Her father urged her to study aboard, and Cher chose the United States. She attended the College Preparatory School in Oakland, California in 1974. She lived with a local pediatrician and his family while completing high school. Afterwards, she went to Berkeley where she originally wanted to be a music major and study the piano. After three weeks and a discussion with her adviser, she switched to economics in which she earned a Master’s (Holson 2008).
After graduation from Berkeley, she took a job at First International Computer in 1982. She sold motherboards and then oversaw the personal computer division (New York Times). Cher became sick and tired of lugging around large computer systems to show performance to her clients; she came to dream of mobile phones. In an interview with All Things Digital, she joked that she dreamed of designing cell phones so she didn’t have to lug a giant computer box through the train stations of Europe where she was selling her motherboards (All Things Digital).