In the high-stakes arena of the global AI chip industry, two leading figures stand out not just for their corporate leadership but also for their personal connection. Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, and Dr. Lisa Su, the chief executive of AMD, are both titans in a sector that is a linchpin of modern technology.
But there’s a twist in this tale of competition and innovation—they are related, a fact that adds a layer of familial intrigue to their professional rivalry.
A Genealogical Discovery
This fascinating detail first came to light in 2020, when Dr.
Su acknowledged the connection, a revelation that recently gained more substance through the work of Jean Wu, a Taiwanese genealogist. Wu, with a background in financial journalism, turned her research skills toward untangling the family trees of corporate dynasties, leading to this remarkable discovery.
Despite sharing bloodlines, the two did not grow up together, an element that might contribute to the ease with which they handle their competitive roles. They hail from Taiwan, a place that is currently much more than a geographical commonality for Huang and Su; it's at the heart of an international tussle for technological dominance.
In a detailed explanation, Wu described how she pieced together the relationship using an array of public records and personal interviews. According to her findings, in Western terms, Huang is Su's first cousin once removed—specifically, Su is the granddaughter of Huang's uncle.
An Nvidia spokesperson confirmed this, noting the relation through Huang's mother's side. Su herself acknowledged the connection, albeit referring to it as distant.
From Taiwan to Technological Titans
The familial link between these two CEOs has piqued the interest of tech enthusiasts and industry observers worldwide.
In Taiwan, where both Huang and Su were born and are now celebrated as tech royalty, the story has sparked a sense of national pride. "I think people in Taiwan are happy about it because the world finally sees Taiwan," Wu remarked, capturing the sentiment that this revelation has brought Taiwan to the forefront of the global tech conversation.
Christopher Miller, the author of "Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology," shared his initial surprise at the discovery. Yet, he also recognized the deeper connection between Taiwan and Silicon Valley.
"There’s really no two parts of the world that are more closely networked in terms of family ties, business ties, educational ties," he said to CNN. The shared history of Huang and Su is emblematic of the broader, intricate web that connects Taiwan’s semiconductor expertise with the innovation engine of Silicon Valley.
It is a narrative that underscores not just the global nature of technology businesses but also the personal journeys that often intertwine to shape the industry’s future. As industry watchers debate the impact of their kinship on their business dealings, the professional paths of Huang and Su continue to unfold.
It remains to be seen how this familial subplot will influence the ever-evolving story of the AI chip industry, but one thing is certain—the bond of family adds a fascinating dimension to the tapestry of technology's most critical battleground.