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AXT founder Morris Young retires

Morris Young, the technologist who founded compound semiconductor substrate vendor AXT back in 1986, has retired as CTO of the Californian company.

AXT's chief technologist and founder, Morris Young, is retiring from the company that he founded.

The 61 year-old, who started up AXT 20 years ago and was its CEO from 1989 until 2004, will remain on hand as a company advisor and member of its board of directors, however.

Under Young's stewardship, AXT enjoyed a rapid expansion in the late 1990s "“ thanks largely to his expertise in the vertical gradient freeze (VGF) method of GaAs substrate manufacturing. This method has since become the most widely-used approach to producing low-defect III-V substrate material on a volume scale.

But after the post-millennial fall-out of the burst technology bubble, as well as a brief, aborted move into optoelectronic device manufacturing, AXT appeared to lose its way and began to mount up substantial financial losses.

In 2004, Young stepped aside as CEO and, early the next year, semiconductor industry veteran Phil Yin was installed by the board of directors to shake up the company and return it to profitability.

As part of that shake-up, Young switched to the role of CTO, and was largely based in China, while Yin ran the company from its corporate headquarters in Fremont, CA.

"I believe the company has a very bright future," Young said. "With its core technology, strategic investments in joint ventures, and new management team, I believe AXT is positioned for continued strong growth."

• AXT now believes that changes to the tax system in China will not affect the company's finances.

The firm had expressed concerns over plans in the republic to eliminate tax refunds on exports of gallium and arsenic that AXT currently benefits from.

To AXT's relief, it now appears that because only a small degree of its joint venture operations in China actually exports these raw materials, the effect will be minimal.

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