Morris Chang and the Semiconductor Foundry Industry

On this day, June 10 in the year 1931, the pioneer in the semiconductor foundry industry was born in Zhejiang, China. His name is Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. Af of July 9, 2020, his net worth was $1.5 billion according to forbes.com.

Morris Chang
Morris Chang (Credit: forbes.com)

Morris was the son of local government official in China. He moved to Hong Kong at the height of the civil war in 1948 and then moved again to the US to pursue his studies. He first enrolled at Harvard but transferred to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he acquired his bachelor’s and Master’s degree in engineering. After graduation, he got a job at an electronic company. In 1958, he joined Texas Instrument (TI) where he rose to become a manager. He was then sent to Stanford University where he obtained his Ph. D. in electrical engineering in 1964.

After 25 years with TI, he left to be to president of General Instrument in 1984. Shortly after a year, he was recruited by the Taiwanese Government to head the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). Two years after, he became the founding chairman of the newly formed Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC). He believed that TSMC will have a niche as a specialized foundry because other companies could profitably outsource their needs instead of building their own foundries which is a capital intensive project. The spectacular growth of TSMC proved him right.

At present, TSMC is the world’s largest fabricating company and is one of the most profitable. It is the supplier of choice for many electronic companies such as Qualcomm, AMD, NVidia, MediaTek, STMicroelectronics, Marvell, Intel, and recently, Apple. In 1994, TSMC became a listed company in Taiwan and three years later, it became the first Taiwanese company to be listed in the New York Stock Exchange. In July 2020, its market capitalization ( $306 Billion) was higher than the semiconductor giant Intel ($247 billion).

Morris is married with 3 children. He remains a US naturalized citizen.

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