By Craig S. Smith, Editorial advisor for english.caijing.com.cn
At the end of
the hall, my escort pauses at a plain brown wooden door. A brushed metal plate
on the door is stamped with the number 1001. There are no other markings. She
taps and opens it and I follow her through a small, crowded, windowless office,
its surfaces spilling with papers. A man behind a desk rises but we are already
headed through another door to meet the grandfather of
He is standing and smiling. He offers his hand, mumbles a token greeting in English and steps back to wave his guests through. The office behind him is another world: soft and airy, with recessed lighting, pale silk-lined walls and welcoming armchairs covered in creamy white leather. Gauzy beige blinds are drawn low over a wall of windows. A spray of white orchids arc from the corner of a large desk stacked with books. A place in each book is marked with a pale silk ribbon.
At this critical juncture in the country’s economic development and an equally critical juncture in Lenovo’s development, Mr. Liu finds himself in much the same position as the country’s leaders: faced with a shrinking market overseas, he is hoping the domestic market can pick up the slack. He has agreed to talk about the problem over tea.
healthier Chinese economy, we need to have domestic demand and consumption to be
the main generator of our GDP,” he says, echoing a common theme expressed in
Certainly, there is nothing to hint of his long journey from the dim halls of the research institute that once stood on the grounds where this office tower now stands, nor of the personal and political battles that he fought to reach room 1001.
While he sits
comfortably at the top of a global company, his rise comes from a remarkably
small geographic base: Zhongguancun, once a quiet neighborhood outside of the
Chinese capital where court eunuchs were laid to rest together with the private
parts they kept preserved in a jar.
He was bright
and ambitious but
“Findings weren’t used for commercial products,” Mr. Liu recalled, now seated in one of the armchairs. “They just sat idle in the Academy unknown to the rest of the world.”