Apple’s core chip tech is in the hands of an 86-year-old Chinese

Apple unveiled the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater at 1am on September 13. When it comes to Apple, the vast majority only know new products, Jobs, but few know that Apple’s “core chip” technology is in the hands of an 86-year-old Chinese American.

On Apple’s website, the iPhone X introduced its processor as the follows: the A11 as well as the processors of other products are manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Founded in 1987, TSMC is the world’s first and largest professional integrated circuit manufacturing service enterprise. Its founder and person in charge is an 86-year-old Chinese, Morris Chang.

Morris Chang was born in Ningbo, Zhejiang province in 1931. At that time, China was in turmoil. To flee from the war, Morris Chang’s family kept on moving from one place to another. Before 18 years old, Morris Chang had lived in six cities and had studied in 10 schools. For a long time, he had no fixed abode and led a vagrant life.

Morris Chang was fond of music when he was a child. He could play the violin, love watching movies and is good at playing tennis. He told his father that he wanted to be a writer. He gave up such dream when his father could not bear that in turmoil and chaos of war, he was still so innocent and naive, and warned him that writer equaled starvation. Perhaps, if he had not born in that era, the world would now lose a semiconductor master but would have one more talented artist.

Morris Chang has such strong ability, which could only be described as life going wild with unequalled capacity:

In 1949, 18-year-old Morris Chang entered Harvard University, and he was the only Chinese student among the more than 1,000 freshmen. And in his first year at Harvard, Morris Chang was in the top 10 percent of his grade.

In 1950, with excellent scores, Morris Chang went to MIT to study and got his master’s degree at 21 years old.

Morris Chang at the age of 24 stepped into a completely unknown field of semiconductor by chance, starting at the zero and gaining a foothold in the industry at the age of 27.

In 1972, Morris Chang became the senior VP of Texas Instruments and became the first Chinese that was among the highest ranks in major American companies.

In 1985, Morris Chang returned to Taiwan and became the President of Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute. He was 54 years old then, working hard for the rise of the semiconductor industry in Taiwan.

In 1987, Morris Chang was 56 years old and founded TSMC from scratch. For years, TSMC has been the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturing company as well as the leader of the industry. And Morris Chang also became the “chip magnate”, whose any movement would make opponents tremble.

Morris Chang is not an ordinary person, and naturally, he wouldn’t follow traditional path. Why did Morris Chang, a MIT graduate of mechanical engineering, set a foot in the semiconductor industry? There is a “$1” anecdote about it. At that time, when Morris Chang was looking for a job, he got four job opportunities. He was most satisfied with the job offered by the famous Ford. This offer suited his major and the salary was also satisfying. The alternative was his eventual choice, Hivania company, an unknown semiconductor company, whose salary was $1 more than Ford’s. It’s not the matter of one dollar but why Ford paid one dollar less than others. He confidently told Ford that he wanted a higher payment and was rejected. Consequently, he changed the decision of working for Ford and decided to work on the unknown semiconductor instead of Ford.

The willfulness in his early years has gradually evolved into his current manner of resolute action after years of honing. In June 2009, four years after stepping down from the CEO of TSMC, Chang once again served as CEO at the age of 78 and maintained his post as the chairman. After the release of the new iPhone, it is expected that Chang’s wealth will rise to 1 billion dollars.

In Morris Chang, we can not only see the halo and success, but also can see that even if he is old, he still uses unceasing steps to widen his life. He is not only the magnate in his industry, but also the example of the younger generation and the pride of the Chinese.


This article originally appeared in Chinaqw and was translated by Pandaily.

Click here to read the original Chinese article.