Building Telecom Bridges

Ying Wu also received the Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement at Celebration 2011.

Ying Wu '88, chairman of China Capital Group, is in the business of connecting people and countries, specifically the United States and China. One of his main goals is to bring the benefits of advanced telecommunications technology developed in the U.S. to the people of his native country. The demand for access to telecom services is growing rapidly in China, which Wu says presents major opportunities for U.S. companies.

Since earning his master’s in electrical engineering at NJIT, Wu has become a widely known and widely respected figure in the field of telecommunications and international economic development. In 2003, China Central TV named him one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Persons” in that country’s economy.

But Wu recounts that when he came to the U.S. for graduate study at NJIT he had less than $30. In China, he had been teaching at Beijing Polytechnic University, now Beijing University of Technology. It was a time of significant change in China’s relations with Western nations, and talented individuals were encouraged to improve their knowledge and skills abroad. The downside was that the Chinese government could not provide resources adequate to fund this quest.

Researching his options, Wu had determined that NJIT would be a good place for him to gain the academic credential he wanted. And at NJIT he found a very welcoming environment, along with the teaching assistantship he needed to complete his degree.

“I really liked how my professors brought real-world problems into the courses,” Wu says. “That’s a very important foundation for a good education and for success later on.” The success that Wu himself achieved after graduation began with work at Bell Communications Research and AT&T Bell Labs.

Wu subsequently set an entrepreneurial course that led to producing wireline and wireless products based on U.S. technology for markets in Asia. In 1991, he co-founded Starcom Network Systems Inc. in New Jersey, which several years later merged with Unitech Telecom, Inc., a California developer of digital and wireless transmission systems. Wu became executive vice president and vice chairman of the board of directors of the new UTStarcom, as well as the founder and CEO of its China-based subsidiary, UTStarcom (China) Ltd.

In addition to his current business commitments as chairman of China Capital Group, Wu is a consultant to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council and senior Internet consultant to the government of Shenzhen City. Located in Guangdong Province near Hong Kong, the Shenzhen area became China’s first Special Economic Zone and one of its most successful. Further recognition has been accorded Wu in being named an honorary professor at Beijing Industrial University and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Generously acknowledging the role that NJIT has had in his success, Wu pledged $1.5 million in 2005 to establish the Ying Wu Endowed Chair in Wireless Communications in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. More recently, he helped to organize the NJIT Alumni Association’s most distant Regional Club, in China, and presided at the group’s first gathering. The dozen PhD alumni attending elected Wu the first chair of the club by acclamation.