Microsoft asked some employees in China to move to other countries

Microsoft asked some employees in China to move to other countries

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

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

Microsoft employees, mostly involved with cloud computing, have recently been offered opportunities to work in the United States, Australia or Ireland, among other countries, government outlet The Paper said in a report today, citing unnamed sources.

‚ÄúProviding internal opportunities is a permanent part of managing our global business. As part of this process, we are sharing preferred internal transfer opportunities with a subset of employees,” a Microsoft spokesperson told CNN on Thursday. It did not say how many employees have accepted the offer.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Microsoft is asking as many as 800 employees, mostly engineers with Chinese citizenship who work in cloud computing and AI, to consider moving. The Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported last year that the Biden administration was preparing to block Chinese firms’ access to US cloud services.

The company entered China in 1992 and for decades has relied on its famous research lab in Beijing, Microsoft Research Lab Asia, to help it build influence.

“Everyone is confused,” one employee told the Paper, as affected staff have been given less than a month to make a decision.

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

The report comes the same week President Joe Biden announced tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese imports of electric vehicles and various other products. Biden said he was trying to prevent unfair competition from China from destroying US industries.

The technology war between the two economic superpowers has been intensifying for years. In October, the Biden administration limited the types of semiconductors American companies could sell to China.

In recent months, the United States has also enlisted its allies in Europe and Asia in blocking the sale of advanced chip-making equipment to China.

Beijing has responded by imposing its own restrictions on exports of germanium and gallium, two essential elements for making semiconductors.

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