What just happened? The US government might be introducing more tech restrictions against China, but it seems the increased tensions between the countries aren't affecting American firms' expansion plans. Microsoft is one of these, having just confirmed that it will add another 1,000 workers to its Chinese operations and upgrade its campuses over the next few years.
Microsoft employs more than 9,000 people full-time in China, around 80% of whom are research and development specialists and engineering technicians. The company has announced that its recruitment drive will bring that number above 10,000 across the next year.
Microsoft's plans extend beyond adding more employees in China. The Windows maker, which has offices in 13 Chinese cities, will also upgrade its campuses in Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou over the next three to five years.
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The announcement came on the thirtieth anniversary of Microsoft's entry into the Chinese market. "We will continue to strengthen our confidence and determination to develop in the Chinese market and expand investment in human resources, campuses, education, and the local ecosystem to find new opportunities in China, boosted by China's accelerated development of the digital economy," said Microsoft Greater China chairman and CEO, Hou Yang,
The news comes at a time when relations between the US and China are at their frostiest. Earlier this month, US officials instructed Nvidia and AMD to stop selling their high-performance AI-focused GPUs to China and Russia without a license. There are also US export bans and sanctions on a number of Chinese companies, such as Huawei, which has seen its smartphone business suffer enormously since losing access to American-made technologies. China has been a vocal opponent of the Chips Act, too. And then there Taiwan.
The announcement is good news for the Chinese economy, which, like the US, has been experiencing a downturn due to global uncertainty. The country has also been dealing with increased regulatory scrutiny. The situation has led to layoffs at large tech giants such as Tencent, Alibaba, and Xiaomi, mirroring those US firms that have also reduced staff numbers this year.
The expansion plans are a reaffirmation that American companies are not losing faith in China and scaling back investment in the country. Like Microsoft, Tesla is continuing its expansion in the Asian nation via the Shanghai Gigafactory (above), already the EV-makers largest facility in the world.