This book provides real stories about the South Korean semiconductor community. It explores the lives and careers of six influential semiconductor engineers who all studied at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) under the mentorship of Dr. Kim Choong-Ki, the most influential semiconductor professor in South Korea during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Kim’s students became known as “Kim’s Mafia” because of the important positions they went on to hold in industry, government, and academia. This book will be of interest to semiconductor engineers and electronics engineers, historians of science and technology, and scholars and students of East Asian studies.

“They were called ‘Kim’s Mafia.’ Kim Choong-Ki himself wouldn’t have put it that way. But it was true what semiconductor engineers in South Korea whispered about his former students: They were everywhere. … Kim was the first professor in South Korea to systematically teach semiconductor engineering. From 1975, when the nation had barely begun producing its first transistors, to 2008, when he retired from teaching, Kim trained more than 100 students, effectively creating the first two generations of South Korean semiconductor experts.” (Source: IEEE Spectrum, October, 2022.)

chapter |4 pages


chapter 1|22 pages

Historical Background

Science and Technology in South Korea, KAIST, and the Semiconductor Industry

part I|35 pages


chapter 2|33 pages

Godfather of the South Korean Semiconductor Community

Kim Choong-Ki

part II|147 pages


chapter 3|23 pages

Teacher, Chip Designer, Patron of Startups, and Spokesperson

Kyung Chong-Min

chapter 4|23 pages

Mr. NAND Flash

Lim Hyung-Kyu

chapter 5|24 pages

Exploring New Semiconductor Areas

Cho Byung-Jin

chapter 6|23 pages

Master of TFT-LCD and OLED

Ha Yong-Min

chapter 7|23 pages

Treasure of SK Hynix

Park Sung-Kye

chapter 8|22 pages


Chung Han

chapter |3 pages


Who Will Become the Next Kim Choong-Ki?