Google Brain Drain: China Boss Kai-Fu Lee Quits

The road for Google in China could get bumpier: Google’s Kai-Fu Lee, president of its China business, is leaving the company to “work on his own venture,” the WSJ reports.

WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro: Boon-Lock Yeo, currently director of Google’s Shanghai engineering office, will run engineering for Google China. John Liu, who currently leads Google’s sales team in greater China, will assume Mr. Lee’s business and operational responsibilities.

Mr. Lee left Microsoft Corp. to join Google in 2005 to develop the company’s operations in China, where Google was later than some of its rivals to establish a beachhead. …

In announcing Mr. Lee’s departure, Google said it was nearly doubling the size of its sales force in China in response to strong growth.

Under Lee, Google has built a decent business, but is far short of the leader, Baidu, and far short of the dominating position it holds in the U.S. and in many other countries.

Google had about 20% search market share in China last quarter, versus Baidu’s 76%, according to iResearch stats published by the WSJ.

It’s also had problems with the Chinese government, which has blocked YouTube from the nation’s Internet.

Lee is just one of several high profile Google executives to leave the company this year. Click here to scroll through the Google Brain Drain →

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