Co-founder and chair, HTC
Born: Sept. 14, 1958, Taipei
Education: Bachelor's degree in economics, University of California, Berkeley
One of the most powerful women in technology, and the most powerful in wireless, isn't based in Silicon Valley but on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. She is Cher Wang, co-founder and chair of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, which at one point made one in every six smartphones sold in the U.S. but is now battling a perilous sales slump.
Wang started out after graduation by hawking motherboards in 1982 for First International Computer, which her sister Charlene had co-founded. The sisters inherited business genes from their father, Wang Yung-ching, the billionaire founder of Formosa Plastics. It's said that, while on the road, Wang got the idea for what would become the smartphone by wishing she had a computer small enough to carry in her pocket. In 1987, she and her husband, Wen-chi Chen, co-founded integrated chipset maker VIA Technologies. Ten years later, HTC began as a contract manufacturer of notebook computers before finally making Wang's smartphone vision a reality.