TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's largest chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), announced on Tuesday (Dec. 15) that Chiang Shangyi (蔣尚義) would be its new deputy chairman.
Surprisingly, this was followed by an angry resignation letter rumored to be from the company's Taiwanese co-CEO, Liang Mong-song (梁孟松), according to Chinese media reports.
SMIC later issued a statement, saying that the company is still verifying the authenticity of Liang’s resignation and that any changes to the top positions will be made public according to the listing rules of Hong Kong and Shanghai's mainboards.
The appointments were announced after an interim board meeting, which was followed by the surfacing of the letter on the Internet. The missive read that Liang has been working relentlessly without taking a single day off over the past few years after joining SMIC and helping upgrade its manufacturing capability as well as successfully initiating volume production on the 28 nm, 14 nm, 12 nm, and N+1 process nodes.
"It's about time to leave, as my short-term goal has been completed," it reads.
The text goes on to lament that he was only informed of the appointment five days before the board meeting and over the phone by the company’s chairman, which made him feel disrespected and distrusted.
Chiang and Liang had both previously held top positions at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Liang, the chief of the R&D team, was poached by South Korea's Samsung in 2009 before he later took the lead role at SMIC, while Chiang, the chief operations officer at TSMC, left for SMIC in 2016 as an independent director before joining Wuhan Hongxin as CEO in 2018.
Known as China's most ambitious chip endeavor, Wuhan Hongxin stands accused of the largest fraud in the history of the industry. The failed entity was taken over by the local government in November, with engineers and builders unpaid for a year. Chiang confirmed earlier this year that he resigned from Wuhan Hongxin in June.
The rumor of Liang's resignation sent investors into a panic, and the company's share price nosedived by nearly 10 percent on Wednesday (Dec. 16).