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“Challenges are important in molding who you are as a person”, With David Chitayat & Eldad Shashua

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I believe that our family business was always a part of who I was growing up. My parents immigrated to Taiwan in the 70s, and my father started a business in foreign territory. I think challenges are important in molding who you are as a person. […]


“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I believe that our family business was always a part of who I was growing up. My parents immigrated to Taiwan in the 70s, and my father started a business in foreign territory. I think challenges are important in molding who you are as a person. For me, growing up in Asia and going to college in US, and then returning to Asia to take over my father’s business were all challenges along the way, but they changed me. Life throws challenges all the time, and for me, as a person, I continue to evolve.


I had the pleasure to interview David Chitayat. David is the CEO/Principal at Genimex, a product design, engineering and manufacturing company. Based in NYC, David has a multicultural background leading companies in product concept design, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain management support. David has a proven track record in developing and producing new products in which he holds more than 20 personal patents.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Genimex was founded by my father, Eli. The company started off in the early 70s as a sourcing company in Taiwan. After studying Physics in US, I returned to Asia. Growing up in the manufacturing business, I began to follow my father’s footsteps. As I took over the business, I evolved the business to integrate design and engineering services rather than just sourcing. I have a passion for creating new products; therefore, I admire my father’s success as it built a solid foundation for me to grow the business into a turn-key manufacturing company.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

Genimex is always working on new and exciting projects. We have expanded into doing more electronics and IoT devices, which is a very exciting category for us. Genimex is investing heavily in not only serving the China area, but we are expanding our reach to Southeast Asia. This new venture will open even more opportunity for us, and we are looking forward to how that unfolds for us.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I must say that my father has been an influential and critical person in my life that helped me get to where I am today. He gave me an opportunity when I was in my early 20s to take on a business that he built from the ground up. When I joined the company, he was already retired. Basically, my father advised me when taking over the business to start off in Taiwan for only six months then seek out a plan to build an office in mainland China. Then, this led to Shanghai, our second office and headquarters. Now, we have a team of 80+ people that make up our in-house design, engineering, account management, shipping and finance teams. Almost 17 years later, we opened new offices in NYC where we can better serve our range of clients globally. Looking back, my father was very aware in giving me the space to work independently in this business. He trusted me, and he gave me room to fail on my own. I am grateful for my father, because he paved the foundation of Genimex and turned it over to me and my brothers. Without his influence and support, Genimex would not be where it is today.

What do you think are the new untapped markets in China that may become the next “big thing”?

What challenges does that new market face? How would you address it? China’s new untapped market is in the domestic Chinese market. China’s largest cities and Shanghai being one of them contribute to $7 trillion global consumer spending. Shanghai, for example, is booming with wealthier, younger, better-educated consumers that are more aware of foreign brands and ideas and open to what is newer and novel. The only challenge I see is how China will continue to handle the new age of consumption. China might face challenges as digitalization continues and new spending power is emerging. To thrive in the coming years, companies must understand the economic drivers, generational differences and trends shaping China’s complex and fast changing consumer market.

Can you share the top challenges of doing business in China and how you overcame them?

There were many challenges in doing business in China, but the one that sticks out the most is building out a human resources team. With the growth of a booming economy, many Chinese professionals were jumping jobs; therefore, building a strong and stable team was a one of our biggest challenges. I wanted to build a team around a great company culture and treating our employees fairly. In addition, I wanted to create a place where continued training was a part of an employee’s growth performance, and benefits that gave the team incentive to be excited to be a part of the Genimex team.

We keep hearing about the “Trade War”. What are your thoughts about it? Given the unknowns, how do you plan to pivot?

I do believe that the trade war has caused an environment of uncertainty. If your business purchases products manufactured in China, you are probably already seeing prices going up. Things are likely to heat up even more resulting in large price increases throughout supply chains. Uncertainty is bad for business, and companies trying to react to this unfolding “trade war” can find it is hard to know what actions to take. Supply chains take a long time to set up and cannot be changed on short notice. Depending on how it continues to unfold, a company can be punished for acting or not acting to make major supply chain changes. While there is uncertainly, I believe cooler heads will prevail. Things may get worse before they get better, but sometimes you need to go up to the edge of a cliff to realize how far the fall is.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I believe that our family business was always a part of who I was growing up. My parents immigrated to Taiwan in the 70s, and my father started a business in foreign territory. I think challenges are important in molding who you are as a person. For me, growing up in Asia and going to college in US, and then returning to Asia to take over my father’s business were all challenges along the way, but they changed me. Life throws challenges all the time, and for me, as a person, I continue to evolve.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to start a movement to help get money out of politics in America. I believe that this is a fundamental flaw in our current political system and is a major issue in this country. We have to put much stricter limits on the amount that corporations and individuals are allowed to contribute to politicians and political parties. This is not a new idea, but one I feel is a route cause of a number of other problems we have in our society today.

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