Software giant Microsoft announced its plan to invest $280 million to build a research and development center in Beijing and significantly expand its research team in the country.
Microsoft started its first R&D center in China as early as 1995. And the company now has research facilities in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Last year, Microsoft invested about $280 million in its R&D activities in China and recruited 1,000 new employees to its China R&D Group.
At present, the company has 3,000 research staff in the country, with 1,500 full-time employees and another 1,500 working on a project basis. And it will double the number of its full-time research employees in China to 3,000 in the next three years.
The new R&D campus will be able to accommodate 5,000 employees, making it Microsoft’s largest research center outside the US when it is completed in 2010.
These investments are said to have helped Microsoft win support from the Chinese government and boosted sales in the Chinese market. Fortune Magazine estimated last year that its revenue from China would exceed $700 million last year, about 1.5 percent of Microsoft’s global sales.
China also has the world’s largest number of Internet and mobile phone users, offering what is believed to be huge opportunities for IT companies.
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