Correction Appended: April 18, 2013
Kai-Fu Lee’s story has elements of what we think of as a typically American story — of immigration, innovation and, ultimately, fearlessness.
Born in Taiwan and educated at Columbia University, Lee made his mark first at Apple in the 1990s, then at Microsoft’s China research division and finally as founding president of Google China. In 2009, he founded Innovation Works, an incubator for Chinese tech start-ups.
But it was his embrace of social media that lifted him from executive to icon of online freedom. In February, Lee was temporarily banned from his Chinese social-media accounts after he criticized the government, in part for its online censorship. How did he respond? By inviting his 30 million followers to follow him on Twitter.
So Lee’s story turns out to be a universal story — of striving for freedom (online and off), of the power of technology to circumvent the status quo and of an individual’s potential to create new opportunities that benefit not only himself and his community but the wider world.
Huffington is president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group
The original version of this article failed to note that Kai Fu Lee was only temporarily banned from his Chinese social-media accounts.
Next Mary Nichols