John Tu

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John Tu
Born (1941-08-12) August 12, 1941 (age 79)
EducationDiplom in electrical engineering
Alma materTechnische Hochschule Darmstadt
Known forco-founder of Kingston Technology

John Tu (Chinese: 杜紀川; pinyin: Dù Jìchuān; Wade–Giles: Tu Chi-ch'uan; born August 12, 1941) is a Chinese-American billionaire businessman and philanthropist.[2] He is the co-founder of Kingston Technology.[3]

Early life[edit]

John Tu was born in Chongqing, China. He was the son of an official in China's Nationalist government. He moved to Shanghai with his parents in 1945, before going to Taiwan two years later as the Chinese civil war neared the coast.[4][3][5] John felt totally lost at school. He describes himself as a mediocre student unable to attend the best Chinese colleges. Therefore, John moved in 1960 to Germany. He wanted to study electrical engineering, but John didn't know how to speak German. He knew how to speak a few sentences in English. So after several weeks, he went out on the street to find someone who spoke English. A biker led him to an priest who had lived in China, and sent him to a language school in Munich. In Germany at that time, a two-year apprenticeship was required for everyone, so he worked at a shipbuilding factory. After working there for two years, he studied electrical engineering at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt in Germany and graduated in 1970. He then went to work for Motorola in Wiesbaden, Germany. In 1971 he moved to California.[4][3]


In 1982, he co-founded Camintonn with David Sun.[4] in 1986, they sold it for $6 million and founded Kingston Technology.[4] In 1996, they sold 80 percent of the company to Softbank for $1.5 billion, before buying it back in 1999 for $450 million.[4][6]


He has supported Erin Gruwell's Freedom Writers and the Freedom Writers Foundation.[7] In 2011, he donated $1.2 million to give every first year medical student at UC Irvine an iPad.[8][4][9]

Personal life[edit]

He is married with two children and plays drums with his band, JT and California Dreamin'.[4]


  1. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: John Tu". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  2. ^ "The My Hero Project - John Tu".
  3. ^ a b c Rosie Murray-West (19 July 2003). "Business profile: Yin and yang of memory". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Forbes profile: John Tu". Forbes. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Kingston Technology and the power of memory". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  6. ^ "The Billionaires Who Make Money Every Time You Buy a Phone". 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Kingston Co-Founder Tu Freedom Writers' Benefactor". Archived from the original on 2008-11-01.
  8. ^ "John and Mary Tu Foundation: Los Angeles Grants".
  9. ^ "John Tu".