Kai-Fu Lee

About Kai-Fu Lee

Who is it?: Computer Scientist
Birth Day: December 03, 1961
Birth Place: Taipei, Taiwanese
Birth Sign: Capricorn
Alma mater: Columbia University (B.S.) Carnegie Mellon (PhD)
Known for: Founder of Sinovation Ventures
Thesis: Large-vocabulary speaker-independent continuous speech recognition: The SPHINX system (1988)
Doctoral advisor: Raj Reddy

Kai-Fu Lee


IT & Software Entrepreneurs

Kai-Fu Lee is Computer Scientist born on December 03, 1961 in Taipei, Taiwanese. Kai-Fu Lee is a Taiwanese computer scientist, IT venture capitalist, micro-blogger and executive. His most well-known title is “Information Technology Venture Capitalist.” Lee is considered one of the most prominent and influential individuals in the Chinese internet sector, despite the fact that he is Taiwanese.

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💰 Net worth: Under Review

Biography/Timeline

1973

In 1973, Lee emigrated to the United States and attended high school in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University, earning a B.S. degree in computer science in 1983. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1988.

1986

At Carnegie Mellon, Lee worked on topics in machine learning and pattern recognition. In 1986, he and Sanjoy Mahajan developed Bill, a Bayesian learning-based system for playing the board game Othello that won the US national tournament of computer players in 1989. In 1988, he completed his doctoral dissertation on Sphinx, the first large-vocabulary, speaker-independent, continuous speech recognition system.

1988

Lee has written two books on speech recognition and more than 60 papers in computer science. His doctoral dissertation was published in 1988 as a Kluwer monograph, Automatic Speech Recognition: The Development of the Sphinx Recognition System (ISBN 0898382963). Together with Alex Waibel, another Carnegie Mellon researcher, Lee edited Readings in Speech Recognition (1990, ISBN 1-55860-124-4).

1990

After two years as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon, Lee joined Apple Computer in 1990 as a principal research scientist. While at Apple (1990–1996), he headed R&D groups responsible for Apple Bandai Pippin, PlainTalk, Casper (speech interface), GalaTea (text to speech system) for Mac Computers.

1996

Lee moved to Silicon Graphics in 1996 and spent a year as the Vice President of its Web Products division, and another year as President of its multimedia software division, Cosmo Software.

1998

In 1998, Lee moved to Microsoft and went to Beijing, China where he played a key role in establishing the Microsoft Research (MSR) division there. MSR China later became known as MSR Asia, regarded as one of the best computer science research labs in the world. Lee returned to the United States in 2000 and was vice President of interactive services division at Microsoft from 2000 to 2005.

2005

Before the case could go to trial, on December 22, 2005 Google and Microsoft announced that they had reached a settlement whose terms are confidential, ending a five-month dispute between the two companies.

2009

On September 7, 2009 he announced details of a $115m venture capital (early-stage incubation and seed money Business model) fund called "Innovation Works" (later changed to "Sinovation Ventures") that aims to create five successful Chinese start-ups a year in internet and mobile internet businesses or in vast hosting services known as cloud computing. The Innovation Works fund has attracted several Investors, including Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube; Foxconn, the electronics contract manufacturer; Legend Holdings, the parent of PC maker Lenovo; and WI Harper Group.

2010

In September 2010, Lee described two Google Android projects for Chinese users: Tapas, a smart-phone operating system tailored for Chinese users and Wandoujia (SnapPea), a desktop phone manager for Android.

2011

Lee has detailed his personal life and career history in his autobiography in both Chinese and English, Making a World of Difference, published in October 2011.

2012

In December 2012, Innovation Works announced that it had closed a second US$275 million fund.

2013

Lee posted on Weibo on September 5, 2013 revealing that he was diagnosed with Lymphoma.

2016

In September 2016, the company announced its corporate name change from Innovation Works to "Sinovation Ventures," closing US$674 million (4.5 billion Chinese yuan) capital injection. Total fund size of Sinovation Ventures exceed US$1 billion.

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