John Chia still at the helm of Unisem even though Tianshui Huatian Technology major shareholder

June 06, 2023


JOHN CHIA SIN TET is a Barrister at Law and a Member of the LIncoln;s Inn, UK. He and his brother Francis Chia ventured into the semiconductor business in 1992 with the setting up of their Simpang Pulai factory in Ipoh.  Francis is a U.K qualified Chartered Accountant and manages Group Finance of Unisem (M) Berhad. UNISEM was listed in 1998.

Today, UNISEM is a global provider of semiconductor assembly and test services for many of the world’s top electronics companies.The Group's customer base comprises primarily fabless companies 68% and integrated device manufacturers 32%. About 59% of sales are to customers in North America, 31% to Asia and 10% to Europe. Expanding manufacturing facilities are in Gopeng & Ipoh Perak and Chengdu, China PRC.

After Taiwan, USA and China, Malaysia is the fourth largest provider of microchips to the world (Reuters). The demand for chips had ramped up because of two years of lockdowns and underinvestment in chips production and the catch up in demand spells good news for companies like UNISEM which had invested in expansion facilities. 

Semiconductors or microchips are tiny pieces of technology that power everything from smartphones, automotives, microwaves to military weapons.The industry is prone to cyclical ups and downs and depending on timing, many semiconductor businesses have folded up. John Chia said the company was hit blue and black during the Dotcom days.

UNISEM set up a semiconductor factory in 2006 in Chengdu, China. In September 2018, Unisem entered into a strategic partnership with China's Tianshui Huatian Technology Co Ltd (THT) to mount a takeover of Unisem. John Chia was then holding a stake of about 24%.

Today effectively, THT holds the majority stake of 41.86% while John Chia holds a direct stake of 8.80% and indirect interest of 21.07%. Though THT has 4 directors on Board UNISEM, the Chias still run the show with John (73) as Chairman/MDand his brother Francis (71) and son, Alexander (42)as EDs. That says a lot of trust by THT in the integrity of the Chias. There are 4 independent Directors.

The financial position of the Group remains strong with cash equivalents of RM556 million as at 31 Dec 2022. Revenue is RM1.78 billion and pre-tax profit at RM279.7 million for FYE 2022.


  1. Unisem (M) Berhad. 2022 Annual Report.
  2. New Straits Times. 12 September 2018.
  3. MIDF Research.13 September 2018.
  4. The Edge Markets. 3 April 2020. Yasmin Syazwina.
  5. The Edge. 1 November 2009.
  6. Reuters. 20 October 2021. Liz Lee.
  7. The Guardian. 22 May 2023. Amy Hawkins.