Richard Tseng, MBA 80

Founder and CEO, Emsoft
Hong Kong

If you’ve spotted a WowWee robot or Mattel Juice Box media player on toy store shelves, then you've seen the software handiwork of Richard Tseng, MBA 80, CEO of Emsoft.

Tseng’s Hong Kong-based business makes software embedded in electronic products such as toys, electronic dictionaries, and smartphones. Products such as the WowWee MS Media Robot and Mattel Juice Box media player, for instance, use video players developed by Emsoft, a 12-person company that Tseng bootstrapped in 2000.

Tseng’s entrepreneurial journey started in the US as an undergrad at the University of Michigan, followed by a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Berkeley (1980). A tour of duty in Silicon Valley led the Hong Kong native to Applied Materials, where he learned embedded systems, and Sun Microsystems, where he mastered Unix programming as an information systems engineer.

While at Sun, he studied part-time for his MBA at the Haas School. The school’s information systems management, finance, and public policy instruction provided the invaluable tools he needed to start his business, he says.

After 17 years in the Bay Area, Tseng left in 1994 to return to China, where he runs his company and helps out with his family’s Hong Kong-based real estate business.

Emsoft products, which are manufactured in southern China, are sold both locally there and in the US. While Emsoft is profitable, collecting license fees from manufacturers is a constant challenge, Tseng says.

“It’s not a scalable business like manufacturing,” he adds. Tseng’s product focus shifts quickly to match market conditions. Sluggish US demand for electronic toys, for instance, is now turning Tseng's focus to networked devices. Next up for his company: an Internet radio device that runs on WiFi -- so Chinese consumers can listen to US radio stations.

"Feature Stories" - Table of Contents

[Top of page]