Kai-fu Lee is a Chinese venture capitalist and popular microblogger best known for his role as founding president of Google China. He has also held high-technology executive positions at Apple, SGI and Microsoft. Born on December 3, 1961, Lee went on to create the world's first speaker-independent, continuous speech recognition system as his Ph.D. thesis at Carnegie Mellon. In 2009 he co-founded Innovation Works, a venture capital fund for Chinese internet start-ups.
I hope to win battle against cancer soon, says ex-Google China chief Lee Kai-fu
Lee Kai-fu, founder of Innovation Works, has returned to his birthplace of Taiwan to receive cancer treatment but says he will still take part in meetings by phone.
The 51-year-old former president of Google China was in stable condition after being diagnosed with lymphoma, said Wang Zhaohui, co-founder of Innovation Works, a Beijing-based business incubator and venture capital fund for internet start-ups. Lee had about 20 tumours, mainly in his abdomen area, Wang said.
According to Wang's Sina Weibo microblog, Lee bid farewell to his colleagues on Tuesday in a videoconference and gave an optimistic view of his health: "A doctor said a third of those suffering from cancer die from psychological pressure. I will certainly not be one of those."
During the videoconference, an employee asked him if he would lose his hair after chemotherapy, and he was quoted as saying with a smile, "I have very good hair genes - so bushy - I won't be defeated by chemo that easily. Even if I do become bald, I will get myself a big wig."
Lee was absent from the World Economic Forum in Dalian , where he originally had been scheduled to take part in a discussion session yesterday on "The Entrepreneur of Tomorrow".
Regarding his absence, he wrote on his weibo: "Sorry I had to miss it - will try to be there in Switzerland in the winter."
In an e-mail sent over the weekend to company employees, Lee wrote: "I'm receiving treatment at my doctor's advice, and it will take some time.
"I will insist on taking part in telephone meetings and work-related forums whenever my doctor lets me, but I'm afraid that in order to follow the doctors' reminders and recommendations, I will spend a lot less time working than before," he wrote. "I will face it optimistically, hoping to win this battle against the disease soon."
Lee, one of the mainland's most influencial bloggers, mentioned in a weibo post last Thursday that he might have cancer. The news was soon confirmed by Wang. China's internet users have posted hundreds of thousands of supportive messages on Lee's weibo page since.
He also wrote a reminder for his staff and his weibo followers: "You must watch your health, step up training. Don't ever think that you can drain your health just because you are young."