Do you remember the time when we have to use a floppy disk to store our data? But now, technology has rapidly improved and we can rely on a small device – USB (universal serial bus) storage devices like pendrives or thumb drives.
However, not many Malaysians would know who’s the person behind the creation of the pendrive. Many would be surprised to find out that the inventor of the pendrive is a Malaysian. Yes, you read it right – Pua Khein Seng is the father of pendrive who came up with the product that led to the demise of the floppy disk. He invented the world’s first USB “flask removable disk” and most of us called it as pendrive.
Pua Khein Seng, the father of pendrive hails from Sekinchan Selangor
Pua Khein Seng or K.S. Pua was born in 1974 to parents of a modest background in Sekinchan, Selangor. He completed his schooling at Pin Hwa High School. Unfortunately, he failed to get a place in Malaysian public universities which forced him to look for choices abroad. He finally continued his studies at Chiao Tung University, Taiwan majoring in Electrical and Control Engineering.
Coming from a low-income household, he had to work part-time during his three years studying in Taiwan to pay his way through university. After completing his studies, he founded Phison Electronics in November 2000. At such young age of 27, Pua then made his mark in the IT industry by creating the pendrive.
He invented the pendrive at the age of 27
The groundbreaking invention shocked the world as people don’t have to rely on data storage devices like a floppy disk that had become impractical due to their limited storage capacity.
USB storage devices had already been researched and manufactured in Israel and the United States. However, Pua came up with the first single-chip USB flash storage device which is an advancement over the earlier multi-chip designs.
His creation dubbed the “pendrive” was not only much smaller and capable of storing larger amounts of data, but also cheaper to produce. Pendrive has become an essential item since it first developed in 2002.
Phison Electronics had impressed big names in the IT industry such as Toshiba with the invention of the pendrive in 2002
Today, his company Phison Electronics is one of the leading producers of NAND memory circuits in the world making it to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Tech 100 List of Top Performing Tech Companies. He also has opened a branch in Malaysia which is in Bayan Lepas, Penang to develop the local industries in the pendrive’s supply chain. The company in Malaysia aims to develop local engineering talent to produce USB flash drives that are fully researched, designed and made in Malaysia.
Pua started the company Phison Electronics with four other partners. The name was derivative of “five person” representing its five founders. Its debut product was a patented 5-in-1 card reader. However their famous product which is pendrive debuted in 2002. By then, Phison had impressed big names in the industry such as Toshiba and M-System which invested in the company’s later projects.
Phison has around 500 to 600 employees where more than 300 of staff are engineers
Furthermore, the giant electronic company, Phison is playing an important role in the Electrical & Electronics ecosystem which is a major contributor to Malaysia’s gross domestic product. He is an example that Malaysians can be innovative and globally competitive.