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Microsoft asks some employees in China to move to other countries

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Signage for Microsoft Corp. at the top of the company’s offices in Beijing, China on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

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Microsoft has asked at least 100 of its employees in China to consider moving to other countries, according to Chinese state media.

The reports come as relations between Beijing and Washington deteriorate over technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and clean energy.

Microsoft The employees, mainly involved in cloud computing, were recently offered the chance to work in the United States, Australia or Ireland, among other countries, state-run newspaper The Paper said in a report on Wednesday, citing an anonymous source. .

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Microsoft had asked as many as 800 employees — most of them engineers of Chinese nationality working in cloud computing and AI — to consider offshoring. The Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported last year that the Biden administration was preparing to restrict Chinese companies’ access to U.S. cloud services.

CNN has contacted Microsoft for comment.

In a statement reported by Reuters, Microsoft (MSFT) said that offering internal opportunities to certain employees was part of its regular business and that the company remained committed to China.

The company entered China in 1992 and has for decades relied on its influential Beijing-based research lab – Microsoft Research Lab Asia – to help build its influence.

“Everyone is confused,” one employee told the newspaper, as affected staff have had less than a month to decide.

Yicai, a Chinese state-owned financial media outlet, wrote that more than 100 employees were affected. He added that people had the option of not moving.

The reports are coming the same week, President Joe Biden announced tariffs on $18 billion in imports of Chinese electric vehicles and a range of other products. Biden said he was trying to prevent unfair competition from China from decimating U.S. industries.

The technological war between the two economic superpowers has been intensifying for years. In October, the Biden administration limited the types of semiconductors that U.S. companies can sell to China.

In recent months, the United States has also asked its allies in Europe and Asia to restrict sales of advanced chipmaking equipment to China.

Beijing retaliated by imposing its own restrictions on exports of germanium and gallium, two elements essential to semiconductor manufacturing.

News Source : amp.cnn.com
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