Former Deputy Director of SMIC Joins Foxconn to Lead Semiconductor Business

Hon Hai Precision Industry, a leading electronics manufacturer which trades as Foxconn Technology Group, announced on November 22 that it would recruit Chiang Shang-yi, a former executive at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), as the group’s new semiconductor strategy chief.

Chiang is over 70 years old and has built a career in the semiconductor industry for 40 years. He worked at Texas Instruments and Hewlett-Packard Company, and returned to Taiwan in 1997 as Vice President of R&D at TSMC. In 2003, Chiang led the “advanced process technology of 0.13 micron SoC low dielectric copper wire,” bringing TSMC rapid fame. He officially retired in October 2013.

In December 2016, Chiang joined SMIC for the first time as an independent non-executive director. Because of an agreement with Morris Chang, the founder of TSMC, during his time at the firm he couldn’t compete with TSMC without advanced technology. Therefore, during his stay in SMIC, Chiang did not participate in research and development.

From 2019 to 2021, Chiang left several times and returned to SMIC. In March this year, he said in an interview with California-based Computer History Museum that joining SMIC was a wrong decision and one of the stupidest things he had done in his life.

Not long ago, Chiang appeared at Hon Hai Precision Industry’s annual tech day, causing people to wonder. At that time, he replied that he and Chen Weiming, the general manager of Hon Hai’s S Business Group, were former colleagues of TSMC, and only participated in the event as guests. Obviously, Hon Hai may have thrown an olive branch at Chiang at that time.

Hon Hai is focusing on three future industries and three core technologies. The future industries are electric vehicles, digital health and robotics, and the three core technologies are artificial intelligence, semiconductors and new-generation communication. Hon Hai has been making many moves in the semiconductor industry throughout the past year.

Young Liu, chairman of the board of directors of Hon Hai, once said that semiconductors are an important link to extend the electric vehicle industry. Hon Hai has built a complete SiC ecosystem from design, wafer manufacturing, power module to application through cooperation and its own production capacity.

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In November last year, its first wafer-level packaging and testing factory was put into production, with a monthly capacity of 30,000 units. In September this year, Hon Hai reached a cooperation with its Indian partner, Vedanta Group. The two sides planned to jointly build a 28-nanometer 12-inch wafer factory in India, which will be put into operation in 2025. The initial output will be 40,000 wafers per month, and full-speed production will begin the following year.

In 2021 alone, revenue from Hon Hai’s semiconductor project was about 15.8 billion yuan, accounting for 1.2% overall. It is expected that this year’s performance target will move towards an annual growth of 10% to 20%. In 2023, the group aims to exceed 22.7 billion yuan in semiconductor revenue.