Kai-Fu Lee became famous in 2005 when the engineering whiz left Microsoft, where he had created Microsoft Research Asia, to head search giant Google’s operation in China. Microsoft sued, charging that he violated a noncompete agreement, but eventually settled. This time, as Lee leaves Google, he’s sure to avoid a lawsuit, because he’s starting his own venture, which launches Monday morning in Beijing.
Innovation Works is intended to be something of an incubator for new Chinese companies in mobile computing, e-commerce, and cloud computing. Lee (who hates the term “incubator” because of the failure of so many in the U.S. dot-com crash) intends to brainstorm ideas, find entrepreneurs and engineers to prove them out, and provide seed funding.