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Microsoft asks some Chinese employees to relocate amid Sino-US tensions

(Reuters) -Microsoft is asking some of its employees based in China to consider transferring out of the country, the company said on Thursday, as relations between the United States and China become increasingly tense over technology such as artificial intelligence and semiconductors.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said Microsoft was asking about 700 to 800 people involved in machine learning and other cloud computing-related work to consider moving.

“Providing internal opportunities is a regular part of running our global business. As part of this process, we have shared an optional internal transfer opportunity with a subset of employees,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. to Reuters in an emailed statement, without specifying the number of employees. he sent the request to.

Microsoft remains committed to China and will continue to operate there and in other markets, the spokesperson said.

The employees, most of them engineers of Chinese nationality, were offered the opportunity earlier in the week to transfer to the United States, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the WSJ reported, citing sources. people close to the case.

The move comes amid spiraling China-US relations as President Joe Biden’s administration has increased tariffs on various Chinese imports, including electric vehicle (EV) batteries, computer chips and products. medical.

Reuters reported earlier this month that the U.S. Commerce Department was considering new regulatory measures to restrict the export of proprietary or closed-source AI models, whose software and data on which they are trained are kept secret .

(Reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh, Surbhi Misra and Fanny Potkin; editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)

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