Kai-Fu Gains Greater Role With WI Harper

Fresh off of last month’s announcement that he has launched a Chinese IT incubator called Innovation Works, Kai-Fu Lee has been named chairman of WI Harper Group’s advisory board.

Kai-Fu will advise the firm on trends, strategy and innovative investment opportunities in China, according to a prepared release that went out early Thursday morning. WI Harper Chairman Peter Liu noted in the release that Kai-Fu has a keen sense of what the future holds in China.

I haven’t had the chance yet to speak with Kai-Fu, but it’s safe to say that his appointment shows that WI Harper wants to do all it can to help launch Chinese tech startups and to take advantage of the country’s growing Internet population.

In early September, Kai-Fu resigned as president of Google China to launch Innovation Works, which is funded with $115 million. WI Harper is the lead investor in the project. Other backers include Steve Chen (co-founder of YouTube), Terry Gou (chairman of Foxconn), Liu Chuanzhi (chairman of Legend Group) and Yu Minhong (chairman of New Oriental). The firm has not yet announced any investments.

Kai-Fu is in the United States this week for a number of reasons.  In Silicon Valley, he is giving the keynote address at the annual Asia America MultiTechnology Association gather on Friday morning. Then, he shoots off to New York to give a talk to engineering students and aspiring entrepreneurs at Columbia University.