Sun Yun-suan
Sun Yun-suan (November 11, 1913 – February 15, 2006) was a Chinese engineer and politician. As minister of economic affairs from 1969 to 1978 and Premier of the Republic of China
Premier of the Republic of China
The President of the Executive Yuan , commonly known as the Premier of the Republic of China , is the head of the Executive Yuan, the executive branch of the Republic of China , which currently administers Taiwan, Matsu, and Kinmen. The premier is appointed by the President of the Republic of China...

 from 1978 to 1984, he was credited for overseeing the transformation of Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 from being a mainly agricultural economy to an export powerhouse.

Early life and engineering career

Born in Penglai
Penglai City
Penglai City , is a port, a town and an administrative subdivision of the prefecture-level city Yantai in Shandong Province, northeastern China. The port was formerly called Dengzhou . Penglai Water City or Water Fortress , a fortified harbor hidden from the sea, is one of China's oldest military...

, Shandong
' is a Province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese...

, he earned his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

 from the Harbin Institute of Technology
Harbin Institute of Technology
The Harbin Institute of Technology , or HIT, is colloquially known as Hagongda . It is a research university in the city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China....

 in 1934. From 1937 to 1940 he was an engineer at the National Resources Commission
National Resources Commission
The National Resources Commission was a powerful organ of the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China that existed from 1932 to 1952 and was responsible for industrial development and the management of public enterprises. It was staffed entirely by technocrats who reported directly to the...

 and worked at a government-run power station in Qinghai
Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

 province. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (from 1943 to 1945), he was sent by the National Resources Commission to train in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 as an engineer at the Tennessee Valley Authority
Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected...


In 1946, he was sent to Taiwan (which had just been returned to the Nationalist Government from Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 following the Chinese victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

) to work at the Taiwan Power Company
Taiwan Power Company
The Taiwan Power Company is a state-owned electric power utility providing electric power to Taiwan and off-shore islands of Republic of China. In 1994 a measure which allowed independent power producers to provide up to 20 percent of Taiwan's electricity should have ended the monopoly.- See...

, a public utility. Managing a staff of several hundred, Sun was able to get 80% of the power network in Taiwan (destroyed during the war) restored in five months. At Taiwan Power Company, he was Head Engineer of the Electrical and Mechanical Department from 1946 to 1950, Chief Engineer from 1950 to 1962, and Vice President from 1953 to 1962.

Due to his successes in Taiwan, the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 sent him to Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 as head of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria in 1964, which he served as CEO and General Manager until 1967. He increased Nigeria's power supply by 88%.

Government career

He returned to Taiwan and joined the ROC the government as Minister of Communications in 1967. In 1969, he was transferred to become Minister of Economic Affairs and served until May 30, 1978 when he was promoted to Premier of the Republic of China.

He is accredited as one of the chief architects of Taiwan's "economic miracle" that led Taiwan to become one of the East Asian Tigers
East Asian Tigers
The Four Asian Tigers or Asian Dragons is a term used in reference to the highly developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These nations and areas were notable for maintaining exceptionally high growth rates and rapid industrialization between the early 1960s and 1990s...

. It was during Sun's premiership the Ten Infrastructure Projects, including the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport
Chiang Kai-shek International Airport
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport , the largest airport in Taiwan, is an international airport located in Dayuan Township, Taoyuan County, Taiwan. It is one of four Taiwanese airports with regular international flights, and is by far the busiest international air entry point amongst them...

, the Number 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and the Sun Yat-sen National Expressway, were completed. Sun championed the establishment of high-technology industries that would later become the basis of the Taiwanese economy. He initiated the development of the Industrial Technology Research Institute
Industrial Technology Research Institute
The Industrial Technology Research Institute is a non-profit research institute located in Taiwan under the supervision of the Republic of China Ministry of Economic Affairs. It conducts research and development in applied technologies to advance private sector growth...

 (that would later give rise to numerous major semiconductor companies such as TSMC
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited or TSMC is the world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, with its headquarters and main operations located in the Hsinchu Science Park in Hsinchu, Taiwan.-Overview:...

) and the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park which would serve as a major electronics and semiconductor manufacturing hub. Sun is also credited for transforming Taiwan's existing export industries, which were developed in the 1960s and centered on textiles, shoes, plastic toys, and agriculture, to the more sustainable fields of petrochemicals, machine tools, and electronics.

Later life

Sun was once regarded as heir apparent to Chiang Ching-kuo
Chiang Ching-kuo
Chiang Ching-kuo , Kuomintang politician and leader, was the son of President Chiang Kai-shek and held numerous posts in the government of the Republic of China...

, but he suffered a stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

 during a legislative
Legislative Yuan
The Legislative Yuan is the unicameral legislature of the Republic of China .The Legislative Yuan is one of the five branches of government stipulated by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which follows Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People...

 interpellation session in 1984, ending his political career. Instead, Lee Teng-hui
Lee Teng-hui
Lee Teng-hui is a politician of the Republic of China . He was the 7th, 8th, and 9th-term President of the Republic of China and Chairman of the Kuomintang from 1988 to 2000. He presided over major advancements in democratic reforms including his own re-election which marked the first direct...

 became Chiang's heir apparent and ultimate successor. Sun resigned as premier on May 20, 1984 and was appointed to the largely honorary position of senior advisor to the President of the Republic of China
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...


After his stroke, Sun became a major advocate of health issues such as the importance of monitoring high blood pressure for elderly people. He also campaigned against smoking
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...


Another stroke left him needing to use a wheelchair for mobility. Nevertheless, Sun remained politically active in his later years and campaigned on behalf of KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan
Lien Chan
Lien Chan is a politician in Taiwan. He was Premier of the Republic of China from 1993 to 1997, Vice President of the Republic of China from 1996 to 2000, and was the Chairman of the Kuomintang from 2000 to 2005...

 in the 2004 presidential election
ROC presidential election, 2004
The Election for the 11th-term President and Vice-President of the Republic of China , the third direct presidential election in Taiwan's history and the 11th presidential election overall under the 1947 Chinese Constitution, was held on March 20, 2004...


He died at the age of 93 while hospitalized at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

 as a result of myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 and septicemia. His funeral was held on February 25 and his ashes were interred at the Keelung Hsin Hsin Cemetery

External links

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