Huang, Gregory

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Huang, Gregory

(Gregory T. Huang)

PERSONAL:

Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D. (electrical engineering and computer science).

ADDRESSES:

Home—Cambridge, MA. Agent—Bridget Wagner, The Sagalyn Agency, 7201 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 675, Bethesda, MD 20814. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Research scientist and journalist. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, research scientist, radar wave propagation; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, research scientist, biomedical engineering; MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, research scientist, robotics and computer simulations; New York Times, professional fellow.

WRITINGS:

(With Robert Buderi) Guanxi (The Art of Relationships): Microsoft, China, and Bill Gates's Plan to Win the Road Ahead, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

Features editor for the New Scientist.

SIDELIGHTS:

Research scientist and journalist Gregory Huang draws on a strong background in science and engineering. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), then spent several years as a research scientist before becoming a freelance science writer and features editor for New Scientist. His studies include radar wave propagation at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, biomedical engineering at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School, and robotics and computer simulations at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Huang has published numerous scientific papers, spoken on scientific topics to an array of audiences, and participated in international technical committees.

Huang's first book, Guanxi (The Art of Relationships): Microsoft, China, and Bill Gates's Plan to Win the Road Ahead, was written with colleague and fellow journalist Robert Buderi. To collect information for the book, Huang and Buderi spent one year interviewing and traveling in China. In particular, they were interested in Microsoft's effort to establish a research laboratory in Beijing.

The authors trace this project to 1998 and the founding of the Microsoft Research Asia lab in Beijing. According to Huang, when Microsoft first invested in Microsoft Research Asia, the company made several cultural assumptions that led to embarrassing and counterproductive errors in their dealings with Chinese technicians, scientists, and business managers. The business hierarchy readily accepted by the Chinese was a foreign concept to Microsoft managers, just as the idea of working outside of established protocol was a foreign concept to the Chinese.

The book's primary title, Guanxi, is a Chinese term for a partnering relationship, a concept with which most Westerners are unfamiliar but that is essential for any foreign company to understand while doing business in China. Among the Chinese, personal relationships hold greater sway than the contractual, impersonal business practices common in the West. As soon as Bill Gates accepted this concept and began applying it along corporate lines, Huang notes, Microsoft's ability to do business in China improved significantly. The company learned how to encourage the creative potential of Chinese researchers and how to apply the principles of guanxi to its own business model and unique vision.

Guanxi (The Art of Relationships) focuses on Microsoft Research Asia during 2004-05, when Microsoft was engaged in a power struggle with Google over search engines, with Nokia over wireless technology, and with Sony over video entertainment and graphics. Among others, the authors interviewed two researchers at the center of the competitive battle, Ya-Qin Zhang and Harry Shum, brilliant young men who both began attending college at age twelve and who guided the Beijing lab through a stressful time.

Reviewing Guanxi (The Art of Relationships) for Asia Times Online, Benjamin A. Shobert observed that although "China's advantage may have initially come from exports, its ultimate potential is that which is uniquely its own." He praised the book's lesson about "how business people should begin changing their view on what China can deliver to their businesses." Bruce Einhorn, reviewing Guanxi (The Art of Relationships) for Business Week, commented that Huang shows "the importance that China has for American high-tech companies."

In her review for Booklist, Mary Whaley called Guanxi (The Art of Relationships) "a compelling case study," and Caroline Geck wrote in Library Journal: "This enlightening title can be used as a non-textbook introduction to the management of scientific enterprises." Overall, Shobert thought that Guanxi gave a good picture of what has made Microsoft so successful a company: "The business strategy illustrated in Guanxi is classic Microsoft—savvy, insightful, and quick to find efficient ways to incorporate adaptive innovation."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2006, Mary Whaley, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships): Microsoft, China, and Bill Gates's Plan to Win the Road Ahead, p. 12.

Business Week, May 22, 2006, "The Hunt for Chinese Talent," p. 104.

Commerce, September 1, 2006, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships), p. 10.

Harvard Business Review, February 1, 2006, John T. Landry, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships), p. 70.

Library Journal, April 15, 2006, Caroline Geck, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships), p. 86.

Research-Technology Management, July 1, 2006, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships), p. 61.

Science News, June 24, 2006, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships), p. 399; June 16, 2007, review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships), p. 383.

ONLINE

Asia Times Online,http://www.atimes.com/ (September 2, 2006), Benjamin A. Shobert, "Moving Beyond Relationships," review of Guanxi (The Art of Relationships).

Guanxi (The Art of Relationships) Web site,http://www.guanxithebook.com (June 7, 2008), author biography.

Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (June 7, 2008), short author biography.