New chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup promises fresh beginning

tsinghua unigroup chairman promises fresh start

The new chairman of embattled Chinese chip conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup promised a “new start” for the firm in an open letter to staff.

In his first public comments since formally taking over Unigroup on Monday, Chairman Li Bin wrote the firm would start its new era under his leadership by paying back its creditors and reducing its debt ratio.

Li also wrote that the chip firm would “go into battle” by studying the domestic and foreign competition.

Li criticized management under its former owner, Zhao Weiguo, who drove the company into debt while building a conglomerate.

Tsinghua Unigroup said in a market filing that it had completed a restructuring plan that officially placed it under the ownership of a financial vehicle controlled by Jianguang Asset Management, Wise Road Capital, and several state-affiliated funds.

Li Bin controls both Wise Road Capital and Jianguang Asset Management.

Wise Road was behind the failed $1.4 billion purchase of US-listed chipmaker Magnachip, which fell apart due to regulatory scrutiny.

Originating as a branch of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, Tsinghua Unigroup emerged in the previous decade as a would-be domestic champion for China’s laggard chip industry.

However, the firm fell into debt under the previous chairman Zhao, prompting it to default on several bond payments in late 2020  and eventually faced bankruptcy.