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A-Team Profile — Hongder Chang

Published May 7, 2008

NAME: Hongder Chang
TITLE: General Manager
AGE: 48

Hongder Chang is filling some big shoes at Kenda. As general manager of the Taiwan tire company, he is taking over day-to-day responsibilities for company founder Ying-Ming Yang, who remains chairman of the Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association.

Chang, who has a doctorate from Cornell University, is a 15-year veteran of Kenda. He started as overseas sales manager and worked his way to global sales director. Before he was named general manager, Chang was assistant vice president for sales, IT and R&D.

Kenda has a large and growing footprint across Asia, with two factories in Taiwan, two in China and one in Vietnam. Kenda also is involved in a joint venture in China.

Its 9,000 employees produce a dizzying array of tires, tubes and related products for vehicles ranging from cars to tractors to all-terrain vehicles. Kenda also manufactures rubber sheets for roofing and rubber lining for ponds.

Bicycle tires remain Kenda’s core product, but today account for only 30 percent of the company’s total sales, which were $600 million last year.

Kenda produces tires for several brands. Its own brand is best known among mountain bikers, but Chang hopes to slowly increase Kenda’s presence in the road bike segment as well.

Kenda, which built its first China factory in 1990, is benefitting from the growing numbers of cars on China’s roads. Economic growth in Vietnam also is helping, as Kenda is doubling capacity there.

And Chang says that although high oil prices have kept raw material prices high, they have also helped financially strong companies like Kenda compete with others.

“Stronger will become stronger in these kinds of crises, so it depends how strong you are,” Chang said.

He and his wife Joannie have been married for 15 years. They have a 13-year-old son, Timothy, and two 11-year-old daughters, Vita and Claire.

—Doug McClellan

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