Wang was admitted to the elite Beijing University in 1954, majoring in mathematics and mechanics.
After graduation, he taught at the Mathematics and Mechanics Department and then at the Wireless Electronics Department of Beijing University for about 20 years, researching computer applications, particularly the digitalization of words, graphics, and images. In August 1974, China launched the ‘748 project’ to boost the development of the automatic processing of Chinese characters. Wang was in charge of the research and development of laser typesetting systems in the Chinese language and of electronic publishing systems. He invented a computerized laser photocomposition system for Chinese character typesetting, a breakthrough he patented in Europe in 1982. This technology revolutionized printing in China and enabled a giant leap forward in the Chinese publishing industry. Since 1985, the computerized laser photo typesetting system has been widely used in China’s printing processes. In addition, Wang helped create a Chinese-language newspaper editing and publishing system using large computer terminals, a Chinese-language laser typesetting system for color printing and a management system for news collection and editing, among others.
In 1986, Wang was bestowed with the title of a national junior expert for his significant contributions to China’s science and technology development. His invention is described as only the second major invention in the printing of Chinese characters since Bi Sheng’s invention of movable clay type in the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), which ushered in the first revolution in the history of printing. Thus Wang was often dubbed the ‘Modern Bi Sheng’ and ‘the Father of Chinese Language Laser Typesetting.’
Beijing University Founder Group Corp. was set up in 1986 to commercialize high-tech products developed at the university. As chairman and director, Wang handled Founder’s overall management and strategic planning until his resignation in 2002. Insisting that enterprises should improve technology to meet market demand, Wang developed Founder into a renowned high-tech pioneer in China’s software industry. Currently, the Founder Group has six public companies listed on the stock market, and over 20 sole proprietorships and joint ventures at home and abroad, with 15 000 employees. It is ranked in the top ten of the 100 best enterprises in China’s software industry.
In 2002, Wang donated RMB9 million yuan to establish the Wang Xuan Science Research Fund, aimed to support scientific research at the Computer Institute of Beijing University. Although he died in 2006, Wang is still remembered as an unassuming and amicable person who helped young people with his noble heart.