Lee heads fund for start-ups | Shanghai Daily

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September 8, 2009

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Lee heads fund for start-ups

KAI-FU Lee, Google China's departing president, will operate an 800 million yuan (US$115 million) fund to invest in Chinese startup firms.

The fund, called Innovation Works, is invested by WI Harper Group, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Foxconn Technology Group, Legend Group Ltd and New Oriental Education & Technology Group, Lee, the fund's head, said yesterday in Beijing.

"It (the fund) consists of angel investment and innovative products or services. It is expected to help young Chinese entrepreneurs," said Lee, who announced last Friday he would leave the world's biggest Internet search service provider in the middle of this month.

Through the fund, Lee will invest in three to five firms within a year and focus in three sectors - Internet, especially e-commerce, mobile Internet and cloud computing.

Lee, 47, joined Google in 2005 after working at Microsoft. He had also worked at Apple Inc. During Lee's tenure, he helped Google to launch 50 new products, like Google Earth, music download service (only available in China) and railway search in China, to catch up with local rival Baidu.com.

In the domestic online search market, Google China's market share by revenue reached 31.0 percent, almost double the figure in 2006, according to Analysys International, a Beijing-based IT consulting firm.

"In our view, Lee's departure and the ensuring management transition may create near term challenges for Google and thus indirectly benefit Baidu," said Richard Ji, Morgan Stanley's analyst.

Google has appointed two executives to take over Lee's responsibilities.


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