Hsiao Chin was born in Shanghai. His father, Hsiao Yu-mei, was an important composer in modern music in China. Hsiao grew up in an artistic environment and his childhood remains an important influence on his work. After moving to Taiwan in 1949, Hsiao studied Fine Arts at the National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei. He also studied drawing under Chu Teh-chun. After his graduation, he learned modern art with Li Chun-shan. He then went to Spain to study but changed his mind as he was not inclined towards the conservative style practiced by the Spanish art colleges. Hsiao founded the Ton Fan Art Group in 1956, and was instrumental in bringing modern Taiwanese painting into international exhibitions. In 1959, he moved to Milan, Italy. He then traveled and worked in Paris, London and New York. Since 1966 he is the director of Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts of Tainan National College of Arts.