May 26, 2024

TSMC buildings

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) at Hsinchu Science Park on September 16, 2022 in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Photo: Annabelle Chih (Getty Images)

As Taiwan focused on developing its semiconductor industry (its first semiconductor plant started producing chips in 1969), Chang was asked by the Taiwanese government to lead an institute focused on innovating chip manufacturing, and left the U.S. in 1985.

“I certainly had no plan to spend nearly so much time in Taiwan,” he told the New York Times. “I thought I was going back in maybe just a few years, and I really had no plan to set up TSMC, to set up any company in Taiwan.”

Chang was asked by Li Kwoh-ting, known as the godfather of Taiwan’s tech development and a government official, to commercialize Taiwan’s state-led chip efforts, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company was founded in 1987.

TSMC would be a chip manufacturer, not a chip designer, and compete with the dominant Intel, and South Korea’s Samsung.

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