Kai-Fu Lee Talks About Quitting Google

    September 8, 2009

A few questions surrounding the departure of Kai-Fu Lee from Google China have now been answered.  Lee isn’t leaving due to any perceived failure – indeed, he thinks Google China is doing rather well – and it turns out that he’s landed a position as the head of a venture capital firm. 

Kai-Fu Lee

Lee, who served as the president of Google China’s operations, created something of a hubbub last week by announcing his intention to quit without sharing any details.  Most executives’ movements are watched, of course, but Lee’s move was even more interesting given that he was once the subject of a tug of war between Google and Microsoft.  There’s also been some controversy about his subsequent performance.

But with respect to how he did leading Google China, Lee told David Barboza, "In my career, I’ve never run away from anything – I run toward things.  There’s clear evidence Google has doubled its market share in China under my leadership.  It’s on the upturn."

So it’s on to something called Innovation Works for Lee, and he explained the new company’s way of doing things by stating, "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."

Innovation Works will focus on the Chinese market, and has already raised $115 million, with YouTube cofounder Steve Chen providing some support.