BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JULY 3, 2000 ISSUE
INTERNATIONAL -- ASIAN COVER STORY

The Stars of Asia (int'l edition)
50 Leaders at the Forefront of Change

MANAGERS
Morris Chang Chairman,
TSMC Taiwan
Toshi T. Doi President,
Digital Creatures Lab., Sony Corp. Japan
Keiichi Enoki Director,
Gateway (Internet) Business Dept., NTT DoCoMo Japan
Joseph Fan President,
Taiwan Cellular Corp. Taiwan
William Fung Group Managing Director,
Li & Fung Hong Kong
Carlos Ghosn COO,
Nissan Motor Co. Japan
Nita Ing Chairman and CEO,
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. Taiwan
Koo Bon Moo Chairman,
LG Group South Korea
Peter Lau Chairman,
Giordano International Hong Kong
Liu Chuanzhi Chairman,
Legend Holdings China
Toshifumi Suzuki CEO,
Seven-Eleven Japan Japan
Edward Tian CEO,
China NetCom Corp. China
K.S. Wong CEO,
SembCorp Industries Singapore
Yun Jong Yong CEO,
Samsung Electronics South Korea
ENTREPRENEURS AND DEALMAKERS
Joichi Ito Founder,
Neoteny Japan
Li Ka-shing Chairman,
Hutchison Whampoa/Cheung Kong Hong Kong
Richard Li Chairman,
Pacific Century CyberWorks Hong Kong
Liu Yonghao Chairman,
New Hope Group China
Hiroshi Mikitani CEO,
Rakuten Inc. Japan
Michael Mou Founder,
DBTel Taiwan
N.R. Narayana Murthy Founder,
Infosys Technologies India
Kumi Sato Founder,
womenjapan.com Japan
Masayoshi Son Founder,
Softbank Corp. Japan
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II CEO,
Ayala Corp. Philippines
FINANCIERS
Banthoon Lamsam President,
Thai Farmers Bank Thailand
Masaru Hayami Governor,
Bank of Japan Japan
Toshiharu Kojima CEO,
Nikko Salomon Smith Barney Japan
Lee Min Hwa Founder,
Korea Venture Business Assn. South Korea
Oki Matsumoto Founder,
Monex Inc. Japan
Yoshihiko Miyauchi Chairman,
Orix Corp. Japan
Kenichi Ohmae Founder,
Attacker's Business School Japan
Yoshiki Otake Chairman,
AFLAC Japan Japan
Kanwal Rekhi
Angel Investor India
Muhammad Yunus Founder,
Grameen Bank Bangladesh
POLICYMAKERS
Chen Shui-bian
President Taiwan
Marzuki Darusman
Attorney General Indonesia
Gothom Arya
Election Commissioner Thailand
S.M. Krishna Chief Minister,
Karnataka India
Lee Moo Young Commissioner Gen.,
National Police Agency South Korea
N. Chandrababu Naidu Chief Minister,
Andhra Pradesh India
Andrew Sheng Chairman,
Securities & Futures Commission Hong Kong
Cacuk Sudarijanto Chairman,
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency Indonesia
Perfecto Yasay Ex-Chairman,
Securities & Exchange Commission Philippines
OPINION SHAPERS
Cheng Yen Founder,
Tzu Chi Foundation Taiwan
Christine Loh
Politician Hong Kong
Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc Editor-in-Chief,
Philippine Daily Inquirer Philippines
N.R. Madhava Menon Founder,
National Law School India
Park Won Soon Co-founder,
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy South Korea
Prateep Ungsongtham Hata
Senator Thailand
David M. Webb Founder,
webb-site.com Hong Kong
Dot-com mania. Frenzied initial public offerings. A powerful economic snap-back. These were some of Asia's biggest stories in the past year. A torrent of venture capital watered Asia's newly fertile Internet landscape. Fat current-account surpluses provided a cushion for the economic recovery. Above all, the past 12 months have seen most of Asia get back to work and move beyond the crisis.

In this year of hope, our annual Stars of Asia issue highlights the men and women who want to build an even firmer foundation for Asia. That means mending a social fabric torn by crisis and punishing the injustices of old dictatorships. But it also means unleashing Asia's entrepreneurial energies to build the winning companies of the new century and strengthen Asia's edge in technology and manufacturing.

A striking feature is the number of Japanese Stars committed to new businesses and new technology. Although many of the economic statistics from Japan are still discouraging, the view from the standpoint of individual businesses looks rosier. These Japanese Stars have broken the old mold of the Japanese salaryman and are role models for a new, very different generation. Look at Keiichi Enoki, the brains behind NTT DoCoMo's Internet phone, a runaway hit that's taking the country by storm and leaving the rest of the world behind. Or Toshifumi Suzuki, who invented a new business model and is driving sales by marrying the convenience of the corner Seven-Eleven store with the speed of the Internet.

Technological dynamism and financial wizardry are key to standing out in the New Economy. In Hong Kong, the father-and-son duo of Li Ka-shing and Richard Li have pulled off staggeringly lucrative successes in their separate forays into telecommunications and the Net. Fellow Hong Konger William Fung embraced supply-chain management to thrive in the cutthroat garment-sourcing business. In China, people like Liu Yonghao are transforming the state-planned economy.

The combination of technology and capital is bringing unexpected prosperity to India in an era of recovery. A cascade of money flooding back into India from expatriates such as Kanwal Rekhi who have made fortunes in Silicon Valley is giving India a chance to accelerate its high-tech development. One entrepreneur continues to stand out: N.R. Narayana Murthy, whose Infosys Technologies provides a model for an open, transparent company.

Some of our most prominent Stars are part of a new wave of postcrisis democratization that's becoming ever more deeply rooted in Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Taiwan's new President, Chen Shui-bian, rode to office on a wave of revulsion against the corruption that ate away at the island republic under the one-party rule of the Kuomintang. Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman is risking his life as he follows the trail of wrongdoing left by the circle of former president Suharto. The chairman of Hong Kong's Securities & Futures Commission, Andrew Sheng, has been pushing for more transparency and accountability so that investors can make better-informed choices.

These people are Stars because they are laying the critical building blocks for sustained growth and development. Without transparency, Asian cronyism and corruption can fester, tilting economic gains toward a favored few, sapping incentives for others, and stoking popular anger. Without a strong rule of law and a sense that justice is being done, economies grow more slowly. Just as important, governments lose the trust of their people. During the first stage of Asia's boom, which ended with the 1997-98 meltdown, it was easy to imagine that none of these institutional building blocks mattered. The crisis smashed that illusion.

This year's Stars continue to pry open Asia's closed financial systems with innovative financing techniques. South Korea's Lee Min Hwa has spearheaded the venture-capital boom that holds the promise of breaking the iron grip of big business on the economy. In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus is marrying finance and technology, using his micro-credit model to finance cell-phone franchises and Internet kiosks in rural villages. The projects provide income for the women who run the kiosks and give doctors, students, and others unprecedented access to the wider world.

In the postcrisis rebuilding years, it's abundantly clear that economic development is about more than just flashy cars and posh condos. It is about giving parents the ability to send their children, especially daughters, to school. It means having the money to buy antibiotics for a sick baby. That's what drives people such as Thai Senator Prateep Ungsongtham Hata, a former child laborer and longtime antipoverty activist. Development is also about showing governments better ways of delivering much-needed services, as Taiwan's Buddhist Master Cheng Yen did after the devastating earthquake last September.

From venture capital to cell phones, from microlending to Buddhist charity--in 50 different ways, this year's Stars are beacons of light. Together, they and others like them are showing the way to better times for Asia.

By Mark L. Clifford in Hong Kong, with Sheri Prasso in New York and bureau reports
A number of Business Week correspondents and contributors wrote this special report. They are: Frederik Balfour, Ken Belson, Brian Bremner, Mark L. Clifford, Bruce Einhorn, Manjeet Kripalani, Irene M. Kunii, Moon Ihlwan, Sheri Prasso, Dexter Roberts, Michael Shari, and Jennifer Veale. Sheri Prasso and Duane Anderson edited the report.

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