Hon, a speech technology expert, joined Microsoft Research in Redmond in 1995 after working as an architect and manager on Microsoft product teams. Before that he worked at Apple, developing its Chinese dictation kit.
In 2004 he moved to China to become deputy managing director of MSR Asia, where he oversaw search, speech, natural language and Internet media research. He also managed a joint seach lab with the Live team.
The 9-year-old Beijing lab now has 300-plus researchers.