Liang was appointed SMIC’s co-CEO alongside Zhao Haijun in 2017 and has been largely responsible for SMIC's moves to 14nm FinFET technology and attempts to catch up with rival foundry TSMC with a process that probably approximates to 10nm (see China's Innosilicon tapes out on SMIC's 'nearly-7nm' process ).
What may have prompted Liang's declarations is that SMIC announced the appointment of Chiang Shang-Yi, a former executive at TSMC, as an executive director. Chiang used to be Liang's boss at TSMC according to reports.
Liang had reportedly said that US pressure was threatening the development of advanced technology at SMIC and that he was worried about the latest board appointment. "I believe that the personnel proposal today will inevitably affect the company's prospects," he reportedly wrote. "I was very surprised and puzzled by the decision, because I didn't know anything about it beforehand. I deeply feel that I am no longer respected and trusted."
It would seem that Liang's letter of conditional resignation will say that either Chiang goes or Laing goes. SMIC's share price tumbled on the news.
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