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Known as the “father of semiconductors”: 56-year-old entrepreneurship and 70-year-old married his own secretary, the company’s market value exceeds 4 trillion

The latest DigiTimes report shows that TSMC has begun trial production of 3nm process chips, and will promote mass production of 3nm process by the fourth quarter of 2022, and will begin shipping 3nm chips to customers such as Apple and Intel in the first quarter of 2023. TSMC and Samsung are the two most powerful chip manufacturers in the world. However, in terms of technical strength and market share, TSMC has always been stronger than Samsung. For every two chips produced in the world, one is produced by TSMC.

It is expected that in 2023, the first batch of Apple devices using 3nm chips will also be on the market, including iPhone 15/Pro series models using A17 chips and Apple Silicon Mac computers using M3 chips (all names are tentative). TSMC has always maintained the industry’s leading level, with the most advanced chip production capacity, the most advanced process technology and the most advanced EUV lithography equipment, it is definitely a star-like existence in the semiconductor manufacturing industry chain.

Many countries have invited TSMC to build factories, and TSMC has decided to invest US$12 billion in the United States. In addition, a $7 billion plant construction plan is also being launched. Zhang Zhongmou, the founder of TSMC, is known as the “father of semiconductors” and married his secretary at the age of 70. We all know that Liu Chuanzhi only founded Lenovo when he was 40 years old, Ren Zhengfei only founded Huawei when he was 43 years old, and Zhang Zhongmou didn’t decide to start a business until he was 56 years old. By the age of 86, he was in charge of a trillion empire. It is not an exaggeration to describe them as “late bloomers”.

Zhang Zhongmou was born in Ningbo, Zhejiang in 1931. Because of the war, he has been running around with his parents since he was a child and went to as many as 10 schools. Despite this, Zhang Zhongmou was excellent since he was a child, and was later admitted to Harvard University, becoming the only Chinese among more than 1,000 freshmen. After studying at Harvard University for a year, he successfully entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to continue his studies.

At the age of 24, Zhang Zhongmou started his career. As soon as Zhang Zhongmou entered the workplace, he received an employment notice from the then auto giant Ford and another unknown semiconductor company. Since Ford’s salary is one dollar lower than that of the semiconductor company, Zhang Zhongmou, who plans to join Ford, discussed with him and asked if he could raise his salary. The result was self-evident.

As a top student for many years, Zhang Zhongmou also has his own pride, so Zhang Zhongmou rejected the auto giants and chose lesser-known semiconductor companies instead. Since then, he has been accompanied and accompanied by semiconductors. Who would have thought that when he was 27 years old, because of disagreements with the leader, he would switch to Texas Instruments. The arrival of Zhang Zhongmou also changed the company drastically.

Zhang Zhongmou became the department manager of Texas Instruments and devoted himself to development. Until the age of 41, he was promoted all the way to the company’s vice president, responsible for managing more than 30,000 employees. Texas Instruments’ market position gradually improved, and soon became the world’s largest semiconductor company. At the same time, he became the highest-ranked Chinese among all companies in the United States.

Zhang Zhongmou has worked at Texas Instruments for more than 20 years. He has higher and higher demands on himself and wants to start his own semiconductor company. So he returned to Taiwan at the age of 52 and founded the Taiwan Electromechanical Circuit Manufacturing Company at the age of 56, which is what we often call TSMC. When TSMC was founded, mobile phones were not yet popular, and the electronics industry was not large. Many people are not optimistic that he started his business at the age of 56, but he not only wants TSMC to grow and develop, but also to develop the wafer industry. The capital investment required by the wafer industry is huge, and the technical requirements are higher.

Capital and technology are both great challenges for Zhang Zhongmou, but more importantly, manufacturing chips requires a lot of resources. In constant investigation and research, he finally found a breakthrough, and soon transformed the company into a foundry state. Moreover, he has strict requirements for the world’s top level. After continuous reforms, TSMC has finally achieved success and is known as “the world’s largest semiconductor foundry company.”

Once upon a time, Zhang Zhongmou was just a technical elite who kept changing jobs. However, after Zhang Zhongmou persisted in starting his own business, he has become an outstanding talent that people yearn for. Zhang Zhongmou’s female secretary also fell in love with him during the day and night with him, and it was not until Zhang Zhongmou’s wife died young that they entered the palace of marriage. In 2001, 70-year-old Zhang Zhongmou and 57-year-old secretary Zhang Shufen married in the United States. Zhang Shufen was not only his secretary, but also the ex-wife of his subordinates. In the eyes of the world, their marriage is surprising, but even so, they still cannot stop their love.

In 2006, Zhang Zhongmou asked Cai Lixing to be the CEO, and he only served as the chairman. At that time, Cai Lixing worked at TSMC for 20 years. Starting from the factory director, he was Zhang Zhongmou’s right-hand man. Until 3 years later, under the impact of the financial turmoil, TSMC was on the verge of loss in the first quarter. Zhang Zhongmou returned to TSMC as CEO. In the first quarter of 2010, TSMC’s operating income reached 92.19 billion Taiwan dollars and its profit was 33.66 billion Taiwan dollars, making it the most profitable enterprise among the 1,300 listed companies in Taiwan.

In 2017, TSMC became the most profitable company in Taiwan, with a market value of more than 1 trillion yuan and a net profit of 80 billion yuan. On June 5, 2018, Zhang Zhongmou retired honorably at the general meeting of shareholders. In just 30 years, Zhang Zhongmou has made TSMC the world’s largest semiconductor OEM company, with a market value of 630.9 billion as of December 3. Compared with the success of TSMC, American chip companies are not as good as before.

The United States used to be the birthplace of the global chip industry, but now no company can produce chips below 10nm. Today, TSMC can only be “invited” to establish a 5nm chip factory in Arizona and promised to provide more than 10 billion US dollars in subsidies. TSMC’s Zhang Zhongmou and Liu Deyin promoted the establishment of factories in the United States on the one hand, and cooperated with other countries on the other. On November 9, TSMC announced that it would establish a wafer fab in Japan with Sony, with an initial investment of US$7 billion, and the Japanese government promised to provide US$3.5 billion in subsidies.

In order to completely catch up with TSMC, South Korea also supported Samsung with a nationwide effort. Last year, South Korea announced that it would invest approximately US$450 billion in the next ten years to support local chip companies such as Samsung and Hynix to build the world’s largest chip manufacturing base, fully catch up with Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, and compete with the United States and China for the world’s leading technology in key technologies. status. At the just-concluded Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit 2021, Qualcomm did not choose TSMC in accordance with the “convention”, but handed over to Samsung.

However, in the next 20 years, the global semiconductor market will experience drastic impacts and role changes. In 2022, the global semiconductor market will reach 601.4 billion US dollars, which is the highest market development scale in history. my country’s SMIC, Huawei HiSilicon and Tongfu Microelectronics will formally enter the world-class stage of semiconductor giants as representatives. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics in June this year, Chinese semiconductor manufacturers have mass-produced 30.8 billion chips, with an average daily output of nearly 1 billion chips.

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