Kai-Fu Lee launches company to boost Chinese startups
Three days after announcing he was resigning as the head of Google's Chinese operations, Kai-Fu Lee said Monday he had raised $115 million...
Three days after announcing he was resigning as the head of Google's Chinese operations, Kai-Fu Lee said Monday he had raised $115 million to create a company that would finance high-tech startups in China.
The Beijing company, Innovation Works, will search for talented Chinese engineers and entrepreneurs and help them develop the next generation of Internet and mobile computing technologies, Lee, a former Microsoft executive, said by telephone.
"We're going to collect the best ideas and we're going to hire the best engineers and entrepreneurs. After one year, we'll send the companies into the open. If they get venture-capital funding, great; if they don't, they won't live."
Innovation Works is backed by YouTube co-founder Steve Chen as well as Foxconn Technology Group, Legend Holdings, New Oriental Education and Technology Group and WI Harper Group.
Electronics giant Foxconn manufactures such products as the Apple iPhone and Hewlett-Packard computers. Legend is the parent of Lenovo, the Chinese computer maker.
Lee, 47, was born in Taiwan and grew up in the United States.
He joined Google in 2005 from Microsoft, where he helped develop its MSN Internet search technology, including desktop search software rivaling Google's.
His hiring by Google led to a court battle between the two companies that ended in a confidential settlement.
Lee said he was leaving Google for a new challenge.
He dismissed as "outrageously wrong" that his departure had anything to do with Google's difficulties in complying with China's strict censorship rules or with fierce competition from China's leading search engine, Baidu.
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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