Ex-Google China Chief to Fund Chinese Tech Start-ups

Reuters reports on plans for Kai-fu Lee, who recently resigned as Google’s China head:

Kai-fu Lee, Google Inc’s former China chief who quit the search giant this week, said on Sunday he will launch his own business next week to fund Chinese technology start-ups.

Lee, described by Chinese media as the face of Google in China, said on his Twitter page (twitter.com/kaifulee) that he will launch a venture business platform, via which young Chinese can get “angel funding” to grow their enterprises.

An Angel fund is a popular kind of venture capital usually offered to a start-up in exchange for convertible debt or an equity stake. Many technology giants such as Google and Apple Inc were initially supported by various angel funds.

The Telegraph also looks at what role China’s censorship may have played in Mr. Lee’s departure:

When the international search engine Google.com first launched in 2000, it quickly attracted market share among China’s white collar elite, but it was not long before the US giant fell foul of the Great Firewall of China.

Within two years it was effectively frozen out of the Chinese market, by censors who could ensure Google searches took seven times longer than those on domestic engines – in particular, the main provider, Baidu.com.

In 2005, Google responded by hiring Mr Lee from Microsoft to launch the bespoke “Chinese” Google search engine Google.cn.

Last night, John Pinette, Google’s director of communications in Asia, conceded that the company had faced a difficult dilemma in signing up to China’s terms.