Guanxi (The Art of Relationships): Microsoft, China, and Bill Gates's Plan to Win the Road Ahead

Robert Buderi & Gregory T Huang



Half a world away from the calm beauty of Puget Sound, there's a lab where Bill Gates's software dreams come true...So begins "Guanxi", the compelling behind-the-scenes tale of the allure of China today - and a unique partnership between the world's most famous capitalist and the world's largest communist nation that showcases what it takes to compete in the age of global innovation. "Guanxi" (gwan-shee), the Chinese term for mutually beneficial relationships essential to success in the Middle Kingdom, tells the story of the juggernaut research lab that underpins Microsoft's relationship building in China. Unfurled through a gripping narrative that moves between Beijing and Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA, it follows the lab's emergence as a Mecca for Chinese computer-science talent - a place where 10,000 resumes arrive in a month, written exams are farmed out to 11 cities to screen applicants, and interns sleep on cots next to their cubicles.

So far, the company has invested well over $100 million and hired more than 400 of China's best and brightest to turn the outpost into an important window on the future of computing and a training ground to uplift the state of Chinese computer science - creating dramatic payoffs for both Microsoft and its host country that are helping the company overcome many of the challenges of China. "Guanxi" traces the arc of the lab's stunning success from a memo by erstwhile Microsoft visionary Nathan Myhrvold to its early days under maverick speech recognition guru Kai-Fu Lee (since plucked away by Google for some $10 million) to its more recent tutelage under former child prodigies Ya-Qin Zhang and Harry Shum.

The two China-born stars, who both attended college in their native country at the age of 12, have orchestrated the Beijing lab's recent emergence as an epicenter of Microsoft's intensifying battles against Google in the search wars, Nokia in the wireless arena, and Sony in graphics and entertainment. As pundits rail about the 'China threat' to US competitiveness and offer often-hackneyed arguments against outsourcing, "Guanxi" explores the true ramifications of China's high-tech buildup - and how it can be turned to competitive advantage, in part by 'insourcing' the untapped talent in the country's top universities. Sprinkled with telling observations, compelling characters, and lively anecdotes about the brilliant successes and sometimes painful stumbles of the world's most powerful software company, "Guanxi" is essential reading for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and technologists around the globe.

Language English
ISBN-10 0-7432-9740-7
ISBN-13 9780743297400
No of pages 306
Font Size Medium
Book Publisher Simon & Schuster
Published Date 04 May 2006

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