Morris Chang’s visionary leadership shaped the technology policy for an entire nation and revolutionized how the semiconductor industry does business around the world. With pioneering concepts such as the dedicated IC foundry, “fabless” IC design and virtual fabrication services, he revolutionized Taiwan’s semiconductor development and impacted the global semiconductor industry. Dr. Chang was recruited by the Taiwan government to help strengthen its semiconductor industry and became president of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute in 1985. He founded the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 1987 as the world’s first dedicated IC foundry company. By focusing on manufacturing other companies’ ICs, TSMC met the needs of chip manufacturers requiring outside contractors for overflow and specialty work and provided services for companies lacking the resources to do their own fabrication work. While there was skepticism concerning the viability of such a business model, Dr. Chang was persistent and was able to demonstrate its advantages. TSMC became the template for fabrication houses that followed, and through Dr. Chang’s leadership it developed into the largest silicon foundry in the world.
The creation of TSMC sparked the development of fabless IC companies during the 1990s. Dedicated foundries reduce the cost of entry for these companies by manufacturing their chips but without competing with them. Utilizing the strengths of the foundry concept, Chang’s “virtual fab” service model incorporates cutting-edge information technology to provide companies with the same benefits and convenience as if they had their own dedicated IC fabs, while still maintaining confidentiality. However, the virtual fab reduces the burdens of capital investment, research and development and intellectual property efforts normally required.
While at Texas Instruments (TI) during the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Chang managed the world’s largest semiconductor business. Under his leadership, TI’s “TTL” electronic logic circuit was established as the standard logic family, TI’s calculator ICs fueled the growth of the pocket calculator market and TI became a leader in metal-oxide-semiconductor memories. TI also introduced the innovative Speak & Spell handheld educational device under Dr. Chang’s management.
An IEEE Life Member, Dr. Chang is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd., Hsinchu, Taiwan.