Professor Lau received his B.S. degree (with Great Distinction) in Physics from Stanford University in 1964 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966 and 1969 respectively. Professor Lau joined the faculty of the Department of Economics at Stanford University in 1966, became Professor of Economics in 1976 and Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development in 1992.
From 2004 to 2010, Professor Lau served as Vice-Chancellor (President) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. From September 2010 to September 2014, he served as Chairman of CIC International (Hong Kong) Co., Limited. Since 2007, Prof. Lau has also been serving concurrently as Ralph and Claire Landau Professor of Economics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Professor Lau has been elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society, an Academician of Academia Sinica, an Honorary Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and an Academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences. Professor Lau is a Vice-Chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a Vice-Chairman of the China Science Center of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, a Member of the Currency Board Sub-committee of the Exchange Fund Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, a member of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Belt and Road and Greater Bay Area Committee, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) Finance Institute. In addition, he also serves as a Vice-Chairman of Our Hong Kong Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, Taipei.