People who left TSMC

A few went to the U.S. Japan and Korea, most came to the mainland.

To the mainland, or to the United States? For many TSMC employees, this is a question.

On April 22, TSMC held an interim board resolution to approve a $2.887 billion plan to expand TSMC’s (Nanjing) 28nm capacity, with the new capacity expected to begin mass production in the second half of 2022 and reach a monthly production capacity of 40,000 pieces in 2023.

In March, a Taiwanese media broke the news that TSMC plans to build a total of six 5nm fabs in Arizona, USA. In May 2020, TSMC had announced that it would spend $12 billion to build a chip factory in Arizona. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed and put into operation in 2024, with a monthly capacity of 20,000 wafers.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter said the expansion decision was made at the request of the United States. TSMC is currently recruiting talent for the Arizona plant through 12 measures, including the ability for employees to get green cards and double their salaries.

“There are not too many people who want to go to the United States.” A person close to TSMC said that in recent years, the U.S. has been disappointed by many practices, such as bucking globalization and banning TSMC from supplying chips to Huawei; ineffective prevention and control of epidemics; and failure to lend a timely hand when Taiwan needed a vaccine, among others.

This person said that relatively speaking, there are more people who want to go to the mainland. Many are even willing to leave TSMC because of this.

Taipei-based recruitment firm H&L Management Consultants estimates that more than 300 senior Taiwanese engineers have gone to the mainland to seek jobs in chip manufacturing companies since 2018. In fact, the number of people heading to the mainland is much higher, and according to Taiwanese media reports, the mainland has brought in more than 3,000 semiconductor talents from Taiwan in recent years after strengthening its investment in the semiconductor industry.

The demand for semiconductor talents on the mainland is huge, according to the “China IC Industry Talent White Paper (2019-2020)”, in 2020, the demand for talents in the mainland IC industry reaches 720,000, while the existing talent stock is only 400,000, with a shortage of 320,000. In this, the leading talents engaged in semiconductor design, research and development, and enterprise management are more welcomed by mainland enterprises.

“TSMC people, is the most popular.” Industry insider Wang Ming introduced TSMC, founded by Zhang Zhongmou in 1987, occupies an absolute dominant position in the chip manufacturing industry and is the world’s highest market capitalization semiconductor company, with a market value of $600 billion in 2020. Samsung ranks second, and SMIC is the top-ranked mainland company.

According to market research firm Tibco, TSMC’s market share is expected to be 56% in the first quarter of 2021, with revenue of US$12.91 billion. Samsung’s foundry business, on the other hand, has an estimated market share of 18 percent and revenue of $4.05 billion for the period from January to March 2021. This also means that almost more than half of the world’s chips are produced by TSMC.

In fact, there are many companies that want to poach TSMC employees, not only from the mainland, but also from the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries.

“In the past, people were more willing to go to the United States, followed by Japan, South Korea, and finally the mainland, but in the past two years, the situation has reversed.” TSMC employee Fei Fei introduced, due to the continuous downturn of the island’s economy in recent years, many industries have not significantly increased salaries for 10 consecutive years, “TSMC used to have very high salaries, but now compared with mainland enterprises, there is no competitive advantage.”

Fei Fei said that the mainland to poach people at any cost, a colleague of hers left TSMC in this way, “mainland employers to provide his 5-year-old child with 60,000 yuan per year for schooling subsidies, and his salary is more than twice as much as previously earned in TSMC, why not go?” There are also many Taiwanese engineers confessed that the money earned in the mainland for three years is equivalent to the money earned in Taiwan for ten years of work.

When Wuhan Hongxin was established in 2019, it commissioned a third-party company to poach TSMC’s employees. According to 36 Krypton, from Taiwan and other places to help Hongxin get together 100 senior technical staff, the higher the level, the more commission Hongxin paid. At that time, Hongxin offered commission terms, if you can dig Jiang Shangyi, it will give 1 million yuan, find the deputy (factory director level) will give 500,000 yuan.

However, leaving TSMC meant a higher salary and new life opportunities, but it was also a big adventure. First of all, the mainland is not a clean slate, and when you come here, in addition to getting several times the previous salary and superlative courtesy, you may also encounter scams, such as the experience at Wuhan Hongxin.

Second, TSMC is not so good to leave. The more senior the talent, the greater the constraints such as non-compete agreements.

Finally, Taiwan authorities are also standing in the way. A few days ago, in order to prevent the so-called flow of important technical talents from Taiwan to the mainland, the Taiwanese authorities sent a letter to relevant talent recruitment agencies, requesting that all recruitment information involving jobs in the mainland be immediately taken down, and also not to assist any mainland enterprises in Taiwan to recruit talents for employment in the mainland, and those who violate the rules will be fined up to NT$5 million (about RMB 1.16 million), and specifically pointed out that: if it involves helping “integrated circuit” semiconductor “or” IC “and other key industries in Taiwan employees to the mainland employment, will increase the penalty.

TSMC’s people became the meat and potatoes

In 1996, Taiwan’s well-known semiconductor leader Ruth Chang came to the mainland and founded SMIC, bringing with her a group of TSMC people. It was many years later that TSMC executives, such as Meng-Song Liang and Shang-Yi Chiang, came to the mainland one after another.

Around 2010, three TSMC employees left the company and flew to Shanghai, they worked in a company as supernumeraries, they were very low-key, they described themselves as “junior” for two years, the reason is that some cadres of the backbone of the original company signed a “non-compete clause The reason is that some of the cadre-level backbone have signed a “non-compete clause” with the original company, expressly agreed not to be employed in the peer group within two years after leaving the company and becoming a competitor, generally both sides turn a blind eye, do not go too far will not be strictly pursued.

A Taiwanese business friends to see them, they also never mention TSMC past events, “can only openly and strictly comply with the peer not to be employed, secretly has taken work to do.” Taiwanese businessmen friends said. And two of them bought houses and settled in Shanghai, their families have also arrived here.

Once they leave Taiwan’s semiconductor industry to take up positions on the mainland, these career experiences will make it difficult for some to return to Taiwan for more confidential and senior jobs, and they will end up settling in Shanghai or other cities.

The influx of people from TSMC into the mainland began in 2019. At that time, due to many factors, chips became a means for the U.S. to neck China. For this reason, China was determined to vigorously develop its own semiconductor industry.

People who left TSMC

There was a time when a chip manufacturing startup had no prospects for growth, and the capital decision to invest or not was often linked to the presence or absence of TSMC’s top management and the number of engineers. They are the protagonists of the good story needed to attract “capital favor”, but the bubble also arises from this.

A TSMC Nanjing plant told Burning Finance that peer companies value their departing employees here, and many mainland employees don’t work for five years and leave before they are promoted, because peer companies offer several times the salary, which leads to “only single-digit number of mainland employees serving at the top.”

However, not all of TSMC’s departed employees, have a better development. There are also many stepped on the pit, the most typical is to encounter Wuhan Hongxin.

Around 2019, before and after more than 50 TSMC departed employees joined Wuhan Hongxin, they were full of energy and ambition at the beginning, and most of them were paid 2-2.5 times the original TSMC annual salary plus bonuses. According to 36 Krypton, the team of engineers, 3 million yuan, 5 million yuan (annual salary ) of a large number of. And, TSMC’s famous Jiang Shangyi also joined, it is said that only the agency to convince Jiang Shangyi commission spent 1 million yuan.

This is an offer that is hard to refuse. According to media reports, in 2019, the average overall salary of all 50,000 TSMC employees is about 452,000 yuan, with a median of about 373,000 yuan. in 2021, all TSMC employees receive a 20% salary increase across the board, and the average salary of TSMC employees in 2021 may exceed 500,000 yuan. But compared with Wuhan Hongxin, it is still far away.

In addition, according to 36 Krypton news, Jiang Shangyi agreed to join, the important reason is that in the domestic semiconductor suffered a supply cut-off, who can be the first to break through the technology blockade, meaning that the name will remain in history. Chiang Shang-Yi is eager to leave a name in this life.

In Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, there can only be one TSMC and Zhang Zhongmou, but in the vast Chinese mainland market, several TSMCs can be born. Data show that in 2020, mainland China imports $ 349.08 billion in integrated circuits (about 2.2 trillion yuan), more than even oil in the same period.

In February 2021, Wuhan Hongxin issued a separation order for its employees, requiring all employees to apply for separation by the end of the day on February 28, 2021, and to complete the separation procedures by the end of the day on March 5. .

“From TSMC to (Wuhan Hongxin) employees, some go back to the chip company in Taiwan, to SMIC also, and to a local chip company in Wuhan, called Century Long Cun.” An informed source said.

Wuhan Hongxin “thunder” the stone into the lake caused by the ripples are still fermenting, according to the news from various sources, because the chip circle itself is small, word of mouth, but also because of the fermentation of the Taiwan epidemic, from 2021 onwards, the cross-strait chip industry talent exchange is basically cut off, although part of the Taiwan chip industry talent still have great interest in Shanghai-based SMIC and so on, but the interest in some local cities of start-up chip companies is greatly reduced.

Reasons for leaving TSMC

If the Internet company’s 996 is already unacceptable, TSMC’s “Nighthawk Plan” is even more exaggerated.

The “Nighthawk Project” is an offensive measure proposed by Zhang Zhongmou in 2014, requiring engineers to work in three 24-hour shifts, non-stop research and development to accelerate the mass production of 10nm process. Although TSMC provided a generous bonus of 30% increase in base salary and 50% increase in dividends for employees who joined the “Nighthawk Force”, this practice was very costly for engineers, and there was a popular saying on the internet about TSMC’s “Nighthawk Program” at the time. “100,000 young people 100,000 liver, GG (TSMC) shift to save Taiwan”.

The “Nighthawk Plan” was later scrapped because it was too oppressive to employees. However, TSMC is notorious for its stressful work. Fei said, “Anyone who hasn’t spent the night at TSMC is not really a TSMC person.”

Peng Jianwen, who served as the head of TSMC’s Operations Efficiency Department from 2001-2011, wrote an article recalling that when he was a production engineer, he worked from 7:00 to 22:00. If the day’s production targets were not completed, sufficient quantities must be completed before leaving. If there was a problem with the production line at 3 or 4 a.m., they had to rush back to the office.

He said that Zhang Zhongmou’s early management attitude was tough (if you can’t accept it, please leave). TSMC is suitable for ambitious and competitive people, not for people who “want to make a clear distinction between work and life”.

People who left TSMC

This management culture is a joy for young people who want to fight, but it is hell for some middle-aged middle managers who want to balance family and career, and want to free up more time for leisure and golfing. Because they have already passed the age of fighting, but this huge machine is running at a faster speed.

The company has an “officer evaluation system” where employees refer to the top management as “officers”, the salary system is strictly confidential, no private discussions are allowed, and three meals a day are served in the factory.

Even when its employees leave the company after a day’s work, they rarely talk about the company’s business when they meet with friends for dinner. “They keep their mouths shut about any company business, even after drinking.” said a Taiwanese businessman familiar with TSMC.

At TSMC’s Nanjing plant, only a single-digit number of senior leaders come from mainland China, with most dispatched from the headquarters in Taiwan, China. “I’ve been working here for more than 1 year, and it gives the impression of volume, competition all the time, and pressure.” An employee who has worked in TSMC’s Nanjing plant for more than 1 year commented.

According to the outside summary and burning financial information learned, TSMC’s management TSMC management closed, strict, strong control. Fei Fei said, during work, employees are isolated from the world, can not use cell phones, but also can not go on the external network, “many people will feel that work and jail almost.”

What’s more, TSMC’s division of labor is very fine, “each person is a screw, if you do not want to find a way to switch departments, or self-learning things, after leaving TSMC, it will be almost impossible to find a suitable job.” Fei Fei said, TSMC does not like staff transfer, in general, transferred employees, will be blacklisted, promotion will be affected, because the company will think that you refuse to feel at ease to do their jobs.

Many engineers will apply for a transfer before leaving the company in order to master more skills. It is said that this has become an internal TSMC to determine whether a person to leave the signs.

TSMC claims that its own employee turnover rate has been below 5%, but if you count on a base of 50,000 employees, this absolute number is not small.

People who left TSMC

A person from Taiwan’s industry said that more and more people are willing to go to the mainland to develop, on the one hand, the language and cultural exchange is barrier-free, on the other hand, mainland officials are friendly to Taiwan compatriots. Among the design, manufacturing and packaging aspects of the chip industry, at present, manufacturing in the mainland is the weakest link, and TSMC happens to be the strongest in this regard, which is why TSMC employees are constantly being poached.

Currently, TSMC has 14 wafer foundry factories in Taiwan, China and the United States, with a total workforce of over 50,000 employees. TSMC has progressed to 3nm in advanced processes, but the company that has done well in the mainland is SMIC, with the most advanced process of 14nm.

Bringing in talent is a path of passage. In the 1980s, Samsung’s rise in the semiconductor industry in addition to the times and geopolitical convenience, the U.S. and Japanese industry talent to dig the wall is also very important. They hired a large number of Japanese semiconductor engineers to spend weekends in Korea to do private work and teach technology. 1980s, Samsung Electronics hired Koreans who had worked in U.S. semiconductor companies, and their salaries were 4-5 times higher than the president. TSMC emerged in the same way, poaching numerous talents, not only from Japan, but also from Silicon Valley in the US.

Now, the mainland is also going down this road, “the mainland in the past two years introduced a series of favorable policies conducive to the development of the semiconductor industry, the corresponding industry talent in Taiwan is very attractive, the flow of talent within this industry between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, in my opinion, is also the normal state.” Beijing Taiwan Association Executive Vice President Xu Tao said in an interview with the People’s Political Consultative Conference newspaper, only by cultivating the soil for the growth of industry talent, creating a good space for the development of talent, and strongly enhance the industry’s salary package, in order to retain talent.

MediaTek and other Taiwanese companies have recently appealed to the authorities to “open up policy tools,” such as for semiconductor R&D personnel, to eliminate the expensing of dividends, so that companies can use dividends to allocate shares and retain precious talent, “otherwise brainpower is bought up and the semiconductor industry is no longer competitive. “

If the brain drain, is a headache for TSMC and other companies, then, after the introduction of talent, how to use them well, and bring about the improvement of the semiconductor industry, is the mainland side to headache.


“Want to prevent the flow of semiconductor talents to the mainland, can the DPP stop it? , source, People’s Political Consultative Conference Daily

How Samsung chips rose to power”, source, Dabai Business Review

In-depth investigation: the 100 billion chip scam”, source, 36 Krypton

Interview with Zhang Ruking: From SMIC to Coren, He Has Been Entrepreneurial”, source, Punch News

*All images are from Vision China. Fei Fei and Wang Ming are pseudonyms in the text.

*Disclaimer: Under no circumstances does the information or opinions expressed in this article constitute investment advice to anyone.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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