Artifact Details


Chiang, Shang-Yi oral history

Catalog Number





Shang-Yi Chiang was born in 1946 in China. In 1948 his father got a job in Taiwan so they moved there before the Communists took power in the mainland. He describes the very crowded and difficult conditions in Taiwan when growing up. It was very competitive, especially in school where it was critical to do well on the entry exams to enter the best schools at the next level. He attended National Taiwan University the top school in the country, studying electrical engineering. After graduation and military service, he attended Princeton University starting in 1969. After finding Princeton to be too formal and rigid, he transferred to Stanford University where he finished his PhD in 1974

His first job was with ITT working on GaAs lasers. In search of a broader experience, he moved onto Texas Instruments in 1976. His first job at TI involved silicon solar cells, where he worked to improve their efficiency using some innovative new techniques. He then moved onto work with nMOS and CMOS, further expanding his knowledge with a wide range of silicon processes.

In 1980 Mr. Chiang moved to Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto, partly motivated by a desire to move back to the San Francisco Bay Area. While at HP, he continued to expand his experience working on CMOS, CCD, and bipolar technologies. He enjoyed his work at HP and learned a lot from the culture, but as HP became less cost competitive in semiconductor manufacturing, the opportunities dwindled.

He then got a call offering him the position of VP R&D at TSMC. After first turning it down, and a long series of discussions, he decided to join in 1997. He moved to Taiwan alone, without his family and for the next 16 years threw himself into the job of making TSMC’s technology competitive with the best in the industry. He shares a number of stories of the challenges they had to overcome, comparisons with foreign semiconductor companies and other unique and valuable insights into the world of semiconductor R&D and the associated financial challenges.

Chiang retired from TSMC in 2006 but was asked to return in 2009. He wanted to focus on two major projects: transistor “leadership” and advanced packaging. He left TSMC this time in 2015. In 2016 he was invited to join the board of SMIC and later served in an R&D role. This move caused considerable turmoil for him and he decided to leave SMIC a year later.

This oral history is an extremely valuable insight into the growth of TSMC and how it came to dominate the semiconductor foundry business. A must read for anyone interested in the dynamics of the semiconductor industry.




Chiang. Shiang-Yi, Interviewee
Fairbairn, Doug, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA


49 p.






TSMC; Chang, Morris; Texas Instruments Incorporated; Solar cells; Hewlett Packard (HP); foundry; SMIC; T Y Chiu

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number