ZHANG YAN 張彥
look at for hours each day? Screens. We all rely on them, whether on our smartphone, laptop or TV. But these digital displays – LEDs and OLEDs – wouldn’t function properly without a layer of optical diffuser film. It spreads the light around evenly on a backlit screen, edge to edge, like a perfectly buttered piece of toast.
Up until 2008, no company in China produced optical diffusor film, and to purchase the equipment from overseas necessary to make it would cost RMB 20 million. Zhang, a PhD graduate from the University of Singapore and researcher at General Electric’s China R&D Center, only had RMB 1 million of investment to play with. So he designed the equipment himself. Although his early efforts fell short, eventually, with enough tinkering, Zhang cracked it. His new diffusor film production line, fully manufactured in China at a fraction of the usual cost, disrupted the industry, and he was commended in China’s Thousand Talents Program, receiving a hefty government grant.
Zhang’s company Exciton Technology went on to win contracts with major Chinese electronics brands like Haier, Hisense and Skyworth, and also South Korean giant Samsung. ‘Coming to Ningbo was the luckiest decision of my life,’ says Zhang, who reckons that if he had chosen Shanghai or Shenzhen his company would have gone unnoticed. ‘ We’ve benefitted from many supportive policies in Ningbo, like financing and building our plant,’ he says, ‘and the infrastructure and high-tech zones here are very good.’
Despite his success, Zhang lives a simple life, residing with other managers in staff quarters inside the Ningbo tech zone where Exciton is based. ‘I started this business to realise my ideals,’ says Zhang. ‘If I was just in it for the money, I should have stayed at General Electric – the pay was much better.’
屏幕。我們時時刻刻都依靠著智能手機、手提電腦或電的視 屏幕，但如果失去了那一層光學擴散膜，這些LED及OLED電子屏根本不能可 正常運作光。學擴散膜將光線平均擴散至整個背光屏幕，就像一塊油牛 分佈非常均平的多士一樣。
截至2008年，中國國內仍沒有生產光學擴散膜的公司，若從海外購置相關生產設備需耗資2,000萬元人民。幣 張彥是新加坡國立大學博士，曾任通用電氣中國研發中心的研究員。他當時只有100萬元人民，幣 於是決定親自操刀設計製造擴散膜的需所 設備。雖然早期的成品未如理想，但經他一再改良修繕最， 終成功解決所有問題他。 設 立完全在中國製造的擴散膜生產線，只需慣成常 本的幾分之一，震撼業界。之後他獲被舉薦加入中國「千人計劃」，獲政府批出一大筆資助。
張彥的激智科技公司相繼拿下與海爾、海信和創維等中國龍頭電子品牌及南韓科技巨擘三星的合約。他回想當初如果選擇去海上 或者深圳，司公 便可能寂寂無聞︰「來到寧波是最運幸 的決定。我們受惠於寧多波 項支援政策，並獲得資助，在此建廠，而且裡這 的基建和高科技園區均完十分 善。」
張彥成就斐然，生活簡卻 樸低調，他與其他經理同住在寧波科技園區員的工宿舍，激智科技就設在園區內。他表示︰「我創立這盤生意是為了實現理想。假如我純粹為了賺錢，倒不如留在通用電，氣裡那 薪金高得多。」