Mustek is well known in South Africa, as one of the largest assemblers and distributors of personal computers and ICT products in the country.
Its Mecer brand and Rectron subsidiary are also familiar names in the IT space, and you are likely to have knowingly or unknowingly interacted with their products or services in your lifetime.
In its 2018 financial year, the group’s revenue reached R5.67 billion – showing its size in the market.
Back in 1987
Like many success stories, Mustek started out as just an idea and a leap of faith. It was founded by David Kan in 1987, who had just come to South Africa from Taiwan.
Before coming to South Africa, Kan did a series of odd jobs growing up. This included being a waiter, a truck driver, and working for a removal company. His first job, however, was washing dishes at 15.
“I arrived South Africa in 1986 and I was working for a cutlery factory. In 1987, there was the first personal computer exhibition hosted at the Johannesburg Sun,” said Kan.
“Most of the exhibitors were Taiwanese companies. Mustek Corporation was interested to set up a warehouse in South Africa and I made a partnership proposal with Owen Chen – MD of Mustek Corporation at the time.”
Kan said he knew nothing about PCs or how to run a company, as he had never “been a boss”, but his move was at the perfect time.
“The global PC industry started to take off in 1987 and Taiwanese companies were the main hardware suppliers to the global market. Being Taiwanese, I certainly took a lot of advantages as a startup.”
To start the business, he took a loan of $50,000 from Chen and $50,000 from his dad. “Since then, we did not introduce more capital into the company,” said Kan.
Kan added that Mustek Corporation gave his good training, and Chen was his mentor in business.
Kan said that those looking to enter the ICT market, and do well, must dedicate themselves to work and lead by example. Making it to the top, however, comes with pressure and Kan said he has many sleepless nights due to the responsibility he holds.
Kan is the CEO of Mustek, and Product Manager for the Mecer brand.
David Kan’s tech choices
Kan also provided MyBroadband with insight into his tech choices.
Which smartphone do you use?
Huawei Mate 20.
Which laptop do you use?
A demo Mecer notebook.
What is the best gadget you have ever bought?
What is the worst gadget you have ever bought?
I am not going to run anyone down.
What Internet connection (fixed broadband) do you have at home?
MWEB on Openserve.
What is the best investment you have ever made?
Global Internet Access and Sizwe IT Group.
What is the worst investment you have ever made?
What is the best business book you have ever read?
Who Moved My Cheese?