An ex-executive of China’s biggest chip manufacturer said he would never return to the mainland.

Chiang Shang-yi, former vice-chairman at Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, or SMIC in short, made his first appearance at the annual Hon Hai Tech Day on October 18. Taiwanese Apple assembler Foxconn organized the event. 

As Chinese media Xin Tang Ren reports, Chiang, who used to live in Taiwan, told journalists that he had only recently returned to the self-ruling island and is applying for citizenship. As for returning to the mainland to develop, he said he had no intention, and he did not elaborate further.

When asked about Washington’s chip curbs imposed on China, Chiang said it was a political issue, and he had nothing to say about it since he is only a simple engineer. 

Chiang quit all his positions at SMIC in November 2021, less than a year after joining the company. Beforehand, he was the man that led Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to become the most powerful contract chip-maker in the world.

Speaking about his experience at TSMC earlier this March, the former semiconductor guru told the Computer History Museum that it was one of the foolish decisions he had ever made. He explained that while the role made him appear as a traitor to Taiwan, mainlanders were also critical of him for being both a Taiwanese and a U.S. citizen.

Chiang was born in China’s Chongqing city, and his family later emigrated to Taiwan, where he grew up.

Re-emerging at the Hon Hai Tech Day this month, the industry veteran declined that he would resume the chip industry in Taiwan, saying that he was only there to support his former colleagues at TSMC.

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