Microsoft plans to expand its headcount in China by hiring 1,000 additional people over the coming year. The move is aimed at strengthening its R&D and sales teams in the world’s largest PC market.
Ralph Haupter, CEO of Greater China for Microsoft, said:
“Our new strategy reflects our perception, emphasis and commitment to the China market. In this new era, China and the entire Greater China region will become the source of global innovation.”
It’s clear that Microsoft has struggled against rampant software piracy in China’s IT market for a long time. Haupter said it praised Chinese officials for their efforts to crack down on pirated software. At the start of this year, Microsoft sued Gome (China’s biggest homegrown electronics retailer) for selling pirated versions of its software on PCs. In July, the software giant filed a lawsuit against nine computer resellers in China, accusing dealers of installing pirated Windows softwares. Report from the Business Software Alliance claimed, China had a legal software market of $3 billion last year and an illegal one nearly three times the size. Despite, Microsoft still believes the Chinese market as an opportunity. Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, said in May that he is “super excited” about China’s growth.
Zhang Yaqin, the chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D group, said:
“It’s the most ambitious plan we have had for China in the last two decades.”
Microsoft will increase its spending on R&D in China by 15% over the next year. The increased investment would be on top of current spending of roughly US$500 million annually. Microsoft currently has 4,500 workers in mainland China. The firm is building a large cloud computing center in Shanghai that could house as many as 600 employees when it is finished.
Microsoft’s expansion is also a move that tries to catch up Google and Apple in the fast-growing mobile internet market, where Android and iOS are already the dominated players in China. The latest figures from the China Internet Network Information Centre indicated the country had 538 million people online at the end of June, an 11 per cent increase from a year earlier.The number of people using wireless devices grew twice as fast, rising 22 per cent to 388 million. The newly launch Lumia phones and the Surface tablet are definitely part of the equation of strengthening its mobile business in China. Besides, the company has teamed up with local companies such as Renren, Sina Weibo, Tencent, Suning…to take advantage of Chinese users’ taste for localized interfaces and content, as the firm has been actively helping software developers create applications for use on Windows 8.
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