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PCB Industry Bids Goodbye to UniGlobal Founder

Right up until the very end, even when he was spending his last days in his hospital bed, James Lee’s first priorities were to his family and his company. Throughout his final days, he was making sure they would be in good hands.

Asian printed circuit board pioneer and expert James Lee passed away after a courageous bout with liver cancer late last year surrounded by his family and friends.

Born in Miaoli County, Taiwan in 1960, Lee dedicated his professional life to building his PCB company Uni-Global, Inc, leaving it one of the best PCB companies in Taiwan.

Lee started his career in PCBs at Chant World International. Once he learned the business, he began his own company in 1989 with his friend, Yang-Mei.

Later he spent two years in Korea working with The Eastern Group and finally returned to Taiwan, where he started his own company in Chung-Li, Taiwan. With just two tables and a telephone, Lee slowly grew the business, which eventually became Uni-Global, a company with sales of almost $100 million.

His company, The Orient Express, was one of the first companies to begin marketing and selling boards in North America when he developed a successful partnership with Advanced Circuits (ACI) in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Lee also did some work with The Bureau of Engraving, where he met John Holmberg who became his American business partner and lifelong friend. Holmberg is now vice president of business development for UniGlobal.

Always specializing in PCBs, Lee was considered one of his country’s true experts in the field. He studied day and night to learn just about everything there was to know about this technology. He not only used this knowledge for himself, but also shared it with others. He was always teaching and mentoring others about the business.

“We lost a very unique individual when we lost James," Holmberg said. "He was certainly one of a kind. Even during his last few days of life, he would not let go until he knew everything was settled. His family called me asking if I would come back to Taiwan to see him one more time. He was insisting on it. They told me that even though he was past his time he would not let go until he had seen me and was sure that everything with the company would continue as he had set it up.”

During his career, James Lee played a huge role in the development of the Asian PCB industry. It was his spirit and dedication that drove his company to open up the North American and European market. Although he died too soon at the age of 51, his was certainly a life lived in full. He will be missed by all who knew him.