People & Players

Microsoft's Simon Leung

Motorola Exec Joins Software Giant As Chairman-CEO

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BEIJING ( -- Microsoft Corp. has hired one of Motorola Corp.'s top executives, Simon Leung, as chairman-CEO of its operation in Greater China, where the software giant plans to spend $1 billion on research and development (R&D) over the next three years.
Simon Leung
Simon Leung
Now based in Beijing, Mr. Leung, 54, will lead the company's business strategy in Greater China, including sales, marketing and R&D.

Microsoft is the latest multinational to unveil significant investment plans in China this fall.

Despite the economic recession hitting the U.S. and Europe, marketers such as PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé, Coca-Cola Co., Motorola and Nokia Corp. have also earmarked millions to expand in China.

Zhang Ya-Qin was Microsoft's acting chairman-CEO during the past year, but the position had been vacant since September 2006, when Timothy Chen resigned from Microsoft to run the National Basketball Association's operation in China. Mr. Chen also joined Microsoft from Motorola in September 2003. Mr. Zhang remains chairman of Microsoft's China research and development group and has taken an additional role at the company, vice chairman, Greater China.

Previously, Mr. Leung was Motorola's Hong Kong-based president, Asia/Pacific as well as senior VP and general manager of the U.S. handset maker's networks and enterprises operation in Asia/Pacific. He will report to Jean-Philippe Courtois, Microsoft Senior VP and president, international.

Despite problems with rampant piracy in China, the mainland has become an important consumer market for Microsoft as well as home to the company's largest R&D center outside of the U.S.

As part of its investment in China, Motorola will train 80,000 people in information technology in partnership with the Chinese government through 2011.

"Microsoft attaches great importance to China, both as a market and because it is such a key center for innovation," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a statement.

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