The Shanghai-born entrepreneur may love art, but he's also a hard-driving computer entrepreneur. And ironically, as the computer industry endures its worst slump in years, Quanta is on a tear. It is piling up orders for its notebook computers as cost-cutting U.S. and Japanese companies outsource production. In the first four months of the year, Quanta's sales jumped 50% over the year-earlier period. Lam predicts revenue for the year of $4 billion. "The recession doesn't affect us that much," he says.
To keep customers coming, he is speeding up assembly times. He now produces a computer in 48 hours, vs. 72 a year ago. He'll soon cut that down to 24. Lam urges his workers to think about art, too--but only after they're done making hot-selling PCs.