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Christopher Thomas

Partner, Beijing
Combines expertise in semiconductor strategy, product development and M&A with hands-on executive experience leading product divisions, global sales teams, and China operations

About Christopher

Chris leads our Semiconductors Practice in Asia, serving fabless, equipment IDM (integrated device manufacturer), and foundry players across Japan, Korea, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Taiwan. He focuses primarily on strategy, corporate finance, product development, sales, marketing, and global operations topics for Asian and global multinational semiconductor, original design manufacturer (ODM), and system companies. Recent work includes:

  • developing a strategy, partnership, and investment plan for an Asia-based vendor of leading-edge semiconductor equipment, leading to substantial capital investment and deepened R&D collaboration with leading customers
  • helping craft the mid-term corporate plan and product portfolio strategy for a leading Asian industrial and automotive semiconductor IDM
  • working with a leading semiconductor manufacturer in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) segment to create a “beyond silicon” strategy to pursue new profit opportunities beyond the core business
  • benchmarking cost, yields, process efficiency, cycle time, and manufacturing agility across multiple leading-edge semiconductor manufacturers
  • helping an Asian ODM develop an end-to-end digital strategy including using analytics to drive R&D productivity gains
  • developing an in-depth perspective on the China semiconductor market, including its future growth prospects, the new PRC government policy, and Chinese capital investors pursuing cross-border transactions
  • evaluating China entry strategic options for a leading global semiconductor manufacturer, leading to JV and partnership negotiations with Chinese companies and government entities

Prior to joining McKinsey, Chris spent ten years at Intel. He was the general manager of Intel China with joint line ownership for the region’s $5 billion-plus P&L. In this role, he oversaw China’s successful elevation from a sub-regional sales unit to an independent regional P&L unit reporting directly into headquarters. He previously held multiple executive roles at Intel’s global headquarters.

Chris is a visiting professor of strategy at China’s leading academic institution, Tsinghua University, where students have ranked his course #1 each of the last 3 years.

Published work

How China will help fuel the revolution in autonomous vehicles,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

How high-tech suppliers are responding to the hyperscaler opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018

Public cloud in China: Big challenges, big upside,” McKinsey & Company, July 2018

How advanced industrial companies should approach artificial-intelligence strategy,” McKinsey & Company, November 2017

A new world under construction: China and semiconductors,” McKinsey & Company, November 2015

How China country heads are coping,” McKinsey Quarterly, October 2015

Advanced packaging technologies: The implications for first movers and fast followers,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2014

How semiconductor companies can get better at managing software development,” McKinsey on Semiconductors, Autumn 2014

Semiconductors in China: Brave new world or same old story?” McKinsey & Company, August 2014


Stanford Business School
MBA, Arjay Miller scholar

Stanford University
MA, political science

The Wharton School
BS, economics, summa cum laude