Heir to the throne
Brian Liu was born in line to lead the prestigious Philippines-based components manufacturer, Cirtek Electronics Corporation, while his elder brother chose another path and acquired an offshore company called Quintel. Yet, Brian chose to climb up the corporate ladder by beginning as a process engineer. It took him 10 years to prove his mettle, but finally in 2020, as the world quivered on the brink of the pandemic, Brian was unanimously chosen to navigate the firm out of chaos as the Chief Financial Officer. Upon completion of his task, he is thereby slated to serve as CEO once he finds a suitable replacement.
Sharing how the promotion was a complete surprise, Brian says, “Back in my early years, I was an introvert, shy around everybody else, and quite timid I should say. Part of this was because I was raised in an all boys Jesuit school, which somehow shielded me from the social upbringing necessary to build up one’s demeanor. I managed to move on to my university years studying Finance, but I continued to struggle on the social side.”
Brian kept an open mind, for he had no clue how to begin, and followed a multi-frontal approach during his early years. “I started out navigating the financial industry as a wealth and portfolio manager as well as an analyst. I found it too centered on returns, thus decided to try something different. I took a job as a pizza maker at Domino’s Pizza, later handling operations. I also tried real estate, raising funds to build and develop my own little township in the heart of Manila. But once I entered the semiconductor production line, I realized what a significant role semiconductors play in terms of influencing the direction of what mankind can achieve and frontiers to explore, and this is where my journey began.”
All along, there was one thing that Brian was always sure about – he wanted to play a role in the evolution and betterment of mankind. “One must always remember that our time in this world is scarce and limited, thus I strive to play a role in whatever way I can for the betterment of humanity. This is the passion that drives me, I wish to see mankind leap to new bounds and explore new frontiers, and I believe that the very pillar that comprises innovation and technology is none other than semiconductors.”
Brian’s father Jerry Liu established Cirtek in 1984. With unprecedented growth, Jerry has featured in the Forbes’ list of 50 wealthiest Filipinos every year since 2018, with both his sons having taken up positions within the company.
Cirtek’s primary product, semiconductors, also known as semis or chips, are more prevalent than ever, and are found in a multitude of devices – everything from electric vehicles, computers, smartphones, medical equipment, and household appliances. As the digital realm expands, electronics are playing an ever-greater role in our lives.
“We are now a full-system assembly company. We have diversified and levelled up, incorporating our own software and designs. This diversification has centered on our key exposure in various growth segments in the technology sector, thereby enabling Cirtek to engage in various markets, rather than just one.”
Over the next three to five years under Brian’s guidance, the plan is for Cirtek to scale up its operations and push on with its highly diversified portfolio. In particular, the company hopes to reach further into the communication infrastructure sector, especially as 5G networks continue to proliferate. Worldwide 5G connections are predicted to triple by the end of 2021 to 670 million.
Conservative in business, Brian believes his biggest strength is his belief in others. “So many people in the world have much hidden capability in them; the only problem is they lack the spark or the catalyst to help them break free. I experienced this early on and share it as an example – that even the most introverted folks out there can crack from their shell and contribute to humanity.”
An emerging young leader on the global stage, Brian also dedicates time to attend charitable activities and humanitarian works. This combination of high-powered entrepreneur and community supporter has propelled him to the forefront of Philippine’s development and won him numerous awards – Paul Harris Fellow 2018, Manila Peninsula Hotel; Paul Harris Fellow 2019, Manila Polo Club; 30 Most Inspiring Leaders to Watch 2022 – The Silicon Review; The 10 Most Disruptive Business Leaders to Follow in 2022 – Fortunes Crown, etc.
Other than that, he simply tries to excel in his own business and contribute to humanity’s evolution and capability. Any tips, we ask him? With a moment’s reflection, he answers – “Focus and time management are key. No one ever has enough time for everything. Never forget what matters most, and always remember how you got to where you are. Life is full of challenges; find your north star or guiding light, and let that lead you to a balanced life.”