TCS Legends | Remembering Mustek founder David Kan

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David Kan, the late founder and former CEO of Mustek, is the focus of episode 3 of TechCentral’s new podcast series, TCS Legends – powered by Mitel.
In this episode, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod is joined by Mustek CEO Hein Engelbrecht and Carlos Vizcarra, CEO of CPS Technologies, who was close friends with Kan for decades, for a wide-ranging discussion on the man’s life and achievements.
Kan founded Mustek in 1987 as a technology importer and distributor, and the company quickly became known for its locally manufactured line of Mecer PCs. Today it’s one of the country’s biggest technology distributors, and is listed on the JSE.
Kan, who passed away in 2022 at just 62, was born in Taipei. He worked various menial jobs in his native Taiwan, including as a dishwasher, truck driver and removal company worker.
After matriculating, he left to study mechanical engineering in the US at Pittsburg State University. In 1986, he moved to South Africa where his father was working a Taiwanese diplomat. He worked for a time at a cutlery manufacturing company before attending his first PC expo in Johannesburg.
It was there that he met the MD of a Taiwanese company called Mustek Corporation. The MD of that company, Owen Chen, wanted to set up a warehouse in South Africa – Mustek in South Africa was born. He went on to establish one of the first PC assembly lines in South Africa.
In this episode of TCS Legends, Engelbrecht – who joined Mustek in 1997 as group fin0ancial manager – and Vizcarra, with whom Kan formed a business relationship in the early days of Mustek, pay tribute to Kan, and share personal anecdotes about the man and his life.
Vizcarra discusses the origins of Mustek, the early days of the PC industry and touches on the development of the Springbok, a South African-built clone PC brand that predated Mustek’s Mecer line.
In the interview, you’ll hear about:
• Mustek’s early days building PCs in Garankuwa and why local assembly made sense in the era of sanctions;
• How Kan and Vizcarra became close friends, despite competing with each other in business;
• How Engelbrecht met Kan, and his first impressions of the man;
• Vizcarra and Engelbrecht’s favourite memories of Kan;
• What drove Kan, a foreigner to South Africa, to business success – and how he became to embrace his adopted country; and
• What he was like to work for;
This episode of TCS Legends includes special bonus content: a full audio interview that TechCentral had with Kan in June 2017.
Don’t miss the episode!
TCS Legends is powered by Mitel. For all your Unified Communications and Customer Experience needs, visit Mitel.com.
18 Mar English South Africa Technology · Business

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