PC manufacturing pioneer Tom Yuen passes away at 70

Tom UN has been on dialysis for 42 years, and I am saddened to learn that the serial entrepreneur who founded AST Research died on February 13 at the age of 70. But I was glad to know that he overcame the obstacles in his kidney disease. Longer than doctors expect.

When I worked for the Los Angeles Times in Orange County, California, I met the co-founders of UN and AST research in the 1990’s. I wrote a profile in 1992 about why he withdrew so much.

UN was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to the US in 1970.

The U.N. told me at the time that he had married a Japanese woman. And he was controversial for his Chinese family in those days. He felt little pressure to succeed. Then, in 1973, he was diagnosed with kidney disease and was told that treatment would cost 15,000 per year. As an engineer at Hughes Aircraft, he was earning $ 12,000 a year at the time.

The UN fired him in 1974, and he saw images in the corporate annual report and mostly white men in the executive ranks. He decided that in order to save his life and take care of his family, he had to start his own company to move forward and become financially successful. (Behind him are his wife Misako and their children Jennifer and Constance).

The UN began AST research in 1979 with Albert Wong and Safi Qureshi – an act that broke the glass ceiling. In 1980, UN Kidney failed and he knew he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life. Which sent him into overdrive.

Three of the founders had three musketeers athos, and the company name was based on the initials of their first names. They formed the company from the beginning of the PC era as IBM launched its PC and opened the door for clone makers to create DOS-based computers. AST started making components and eventually made its own PC.

The company went public in 1984 and sold thousands of employees and billions. It became a Fortune 500 company and helped put the Orange Count on the map for the tech industry’s feats. The U.N. left the company in 1992.

AST was acquired by Samsung in 1997 and finally closed in 1999. The UN also bought 3D audio firm SRS Labs in 1993 and acquired stem cell research and development firm Primegen Biotech in 2002. He also became a strong and generous donor to Orange County.

“Even though he had been ill for over 40 years, his wife’s incredible support and determination to give his children the best possible life inspired Tom to lead an extraordinary life. Was successful. In life he was caring, compassionate and had an unquenchable desire to help people, “said Yee Szetto, a business associate and close friend of the UN for 40 years, in a statement.

Memorial services

A memorial service for Tom UN will be held on March 12, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time in Costa Mesa, California. Please RSVP by contacting Stacy Farm at spham@primegenus.com.


In remembrance of the UN’s passion for philanthropy, the family asked friends and family to donate for two reasons they were really passionate, instead of sending flowers:

Support Stem Cell and Kidney Disease Research and UC Irwin – https://secure.give.uci.edu/ThomasYuenMemorialGifts

· Support Providence Speech and Hearing Center (CHOC Health Affiliate) – https://raiseup.choc.org/honor/TomYuen

UN influence was inherited in Tech. In 1986, AST acquired a small memory manufacturing company called Caminton, whose principals David Sun and John Tue created Kingston Technology.

“Before AST, Tom and I were college roommates, and even then it was clear he was a true dreamer. He had the ability to dream big ideas and to refine existing ideas in a way that was simply amazing. While he would propose to create some innovations that seemed impossible to develop, he had an impressive approach that inspired and encouraged engineers like me to bring his ideas to life, “said Wong, co-founder of AST Research, in a statement.

Qureshi, co-founder of AST, said: “Making money was never the primary driver for Tom. Instead, he was more interested in tackling significant challenges, learning from them and seeing if the market would bear fruit for our labor.” Statement “After his diagnosis of chronic kidney disease, Tom never slowed down, he just adapted. He was brave enough to face whatever was going on, even though he managed to maintain a positive attitude and an extraordinary desire to succeed. .

In recognition of this, he received the TechAmerica Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and the Extraordinary Award from the UCI Alumni Association in 2014.

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