One more amusing anecdote from Morris Chang. The initial funding for TSMC came mostly from the Taiwanese government (48%) and Philips. There were also a few key individual investors who put their own money into the company. But TSMC was proposing to be a silicon foundry, a brand new business model. How did the company convince those people to invest?

Dr. Chang said the government essentially coerced them to put their money in. One person was asked to take a 5% stake, and he started getting cold feet. The premier of Taiwan actually called him and said, “It is government policy to get this company started. Don’t you want to support government policy?” It turned out to be be pretty enlightened coercion.

This was back in 1987, when Taiwan was just starting to transition from an authoritarian government to a democracy. I doubt it could get away with that now.