• Jan 1, 1946
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

Born in a fishing village in Kaohsiung province in Taiwan, he attended the National Tainan First Senior High School. He received his B.S. Degree from National Taiwan University, an M.S. Degree from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. Upon his graduation from Princeton, he began his first engineering position at Burroughs Corporation in San Diego in 1974 where he eventually became a Senior Research Engineer. At the time, Silicon Valley had just come out with the ground-breaking invention - semiconductor memory. In the early 1970s, a series of political and economic setbacks prompted the government of Taiwan to consider re-engineering the country’s economic structure. To pave the way for the transformation, then Minister of Economic Affairs Sun Yun-suan helped create the Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (ITRI) in 1973. One year later, after internal consultations within the government and discussions with Pan Wen-yuan, an ROC expatriate leading a research team at the U.S.-based Radio Corporation of America, Sun made the call to embark on a four-year, US$10 million integrated circuit development project. He remained at Burroughs until 1976, when he returned to Taiwan to lead the process technology team for the recently formed Industrial Technology Research Institute’s (ITRI) RCA project that laid the foundation for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. ITRI signed the “CMOS IC Technology Transfer Licensing Agreement” with RCA March 5, 1976, under which RCA would transfer its know-how in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technology to Taiwan. As part of the agreement, in April 1976 the Institute sent 19 young engineers to RCA’s facilities for training in IC design, process technology, IC testing and semiconductor equipment. Other trainees included Bob Tsao, emeritus chairman of Taiwan’s first foundry, United Microelectronics Corp.; Tsai Ming-kai, chairman of the nation’s leading IC design house, MediaTek Inc.; and F.C. Tseng, vice chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chip maker. While these seed engineers were undergoing on-the-job training in the U.S., the ITRI was building Taiwan’s first 3-inch wafer fabrication plant, which began its pilot run at the end of 1977. He became the first Plant Manager after returning to Taiwan. He called the plant “the origin of the country’s semiconductor industry.” With the IC plant getting into stride, he was promoted to head of the ITRI’s IC development center, then to Deputy Director and later Director of the Electronics Research and Service Organization, where he served throughout the 1980s. It was at these posts that he, along with his colleagues, made several critical decisions that profoundly influenced the development of Taiwan’s high-tech industries. The spinoff of the ITRI IC plant became United Microelectronics Corp. in 1981, Taiwan’s first semiconductor company. In 1986 he joined then ITRI President Morris Chang in negotiating a partnership with the Netherlands’ Royal Philip Electronics that culminated in the establishment of TSMC in 1987. TSMC pioneered the business model of dedicated foundry manufacturing and ultimately reshuffled the global semiconductor industry. Starting with foundries, Taiwan has built a semiconductor supply chain complete with IC design, wafer fabrication and IC packaging and testing. According to the Semiconductor Industry Promotion Office of the MOEA’s Industrial Development Bureau, the output of Taiwan’s semiconductor sector amounted to NT$1.229 trillion (US$39 billion) in 2009, when the country ranked No. 1 in the world in IC manufacturing, packaging and testing, and No. 2 in IC design in terms of global market share. Thanks to the solid IC foundation, as well as the many skilled professionals the ITRI cultivated during his term as its President, Taiwan was able to develop its dynamic random-access memory and thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display panel industries, which have been dubbed the “twin engines” driving the country’s economic growth for the past decade. He noted, “The RCA project changed Taiwan’s economic landscape fundamentally.” He served as President of ITRI from 1994 to 2003 and he was the Vice President and the General Director of ERSO and ITRI. He also was a Professor and Dean at the College of Technology Management of National Tsing Hua University. As head of the Institute for Information Industry, he is coordinating the government’s efforts to bring Taiwan’s information and communications technologies to the next level, including development of the cloud computing sector. As a seasoned veteran in the nation’s economic development, he offered his views on the controversial question of whether Taiwan’s high-tech sectors should be allowed to invest outside the country, especially in mainland China. He was honored as a Fellow of the IEEE in 1992. He also received the Engineer Medal of the Chinese Institute of Engineering in 1995 and the First Medal of the Ministry of Economics Affair in 2003. He is a distinguished visiting scholar at Stanford. He was also the Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association from 1996 to 2000, the Chairman of the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association, and the Chairman of the Chinese Society for Management of Technology. He was also the President of the Chinese Institute of Engineers between 1998 and 2000. He has been an Independent Director at Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp since June 12, 2012.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jan 1, 1946
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    A major player in the collective effort to build Taiwan’s semiconductor industry from the ground up
  • Category of Achievement:

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