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Lee Kai-Fu, China's Innovation Idol

Can Lee Kai-Fu solve the country’s technology dilemma?

Ka Xiaoxi for Bloomberg Businessweek

Lee Kai-Fu, China’s foremost evangelist for innovation, works on the 12th floor of a Beijing office building with a sprawling electronics mall in the basement. On a hot, gray summer day, the view outside his window is anything but inspiring. That doesn’t seem to bother Lee, who’s thinking about Steve Jobs. “One would believe, because China has four times as many people as the U.S., for every American Steve Jobs, China should have four,” he says as he fixes his wire-rimmed glasses. “But we don’t. We don’t have a single Steve Jobs.”