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BEIJING — Kai-Fu Lee's recent departure as head of Google China stirred speculation in the tech community here that he finally tired of battling the Chinese government, which has constantly pressured the Mountain View search giant and temporarily shut down some of its services.

But Lee, whose 2005 hiring by Google from Microsoft in China triggered a lawsuit on allegations the move violated a noncompete agreement, says he's simply going after a new opportunity. After nearly doubling Google's market share in China to 31 percent, he has founded Innovation Works, a venture fund that will provide coaching for early stage startups. The organization fills a void in China, where entrepreneurs lack the experience and advice readily found in Silicon Valley, he said.

Google's former chief in China nurtures innnovation there