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The Story of Morris Chang and Taiwan Semiconductor

Today, Morris Chang is known the world over as a business success story—the owner of the world’s first and largest silicon foundry and the father of the semiconductor industry in Taiwan. But this wasn’t always the case. Morris Chang wasn’t an instant success and his life’s journey is one that’s full of twists and turns.

In many ways, this makes the trajectory of his career all the more admirable and impressive. An inspiration to chip designers, his is a story that shows that perseverance and hard work are the keys to achieving success. Learn about his riveting tale now.

Morris Chang Early Life

Morris Chang was born in the Chinese city of Ningbo in the early 1930s. Though his family had good standing in the community, Chang’s childhood was set to offer up many challenges and hardships. A civil war was raging and poverty was widespread at the time of his birth.

He moved around a lot in his early years, eventually settling in Hong Kong. Despite the uncertainty of his surroundings, from his youth, his parents encouraged him to be education-oriented. From a young age, he focused singularly on his studies.

It was this dedication and determination that eventually won him a place at Harvard University in 1948. From here, Chang transferred to MIT, graduating with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering.

Morris Chang Career

After leaving a job at Sylvania Semiconductor that wasn’t a good fit, Chang took his career-defining role at Texas Instruments, a company in Dallas, Texas. This company proved a much better match for Chang’s working style and abilities. By 1961, he was managing a full department.

While at Texas Instruments, Chang was encouraged to pursue a Ph.D., which he did, at Stanford University. After this, he continued to climb the corporate ladder at Texas Instruments and by 1967 he was General Manager of an integral semiconductor department there. He eventually rose to become Vice President of its entire semiconductor business.

Then, in an unexpected turn, Chang was given a new—much less prestigious—role. Insulted he had been snubbed for higher ranking positions, he took this as his opportunity to leave the company.

Morris Chang and TSMC

After Chang’s departure, instead of winding down, his career took yet another unexpected turn. He was approached by the government of Taiwan to help create a semiconductor industry there. A gargantuan task.

As it stood, in Taiwan, there was no R&D, no design capabilities, and no IP relating to semiconductors. But it did have one thing. Manufacturing capabilities.

Chang saw this as an opportunity. He decided to leverage the fact that chip designers often wanted to start their own companies. In 1987, Chang founded Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, a chip manufacturer that made it possible for independent chip designers to start their own companies.

This, of course, set in motion the wheels that would eventually lead to the creation of the booming semiconductor industry in Taiwan that we know today. TSMC is now the world’s largest contract manufacturer of chips.

The Story of Taiwan Semiconductor

Morris Chang is a man who’s had an interesting life. From humble beginnings, he’s responsible for the birth of the Taiwanese semiconductor industry, and for revolutionizing the Taiwanese technology complex.

If you’d like to start your own revolution in the semiconductor industry, get in touch today to see how we can help.

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