Microsoft Offers Employees a Move from China - Latest Global News

Microsoft Offers Employees a Move from China

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Microsoft has made an offer to some of its China-based employees to move abroad as tensions rise between Beijing and Washington over sensitive technologies, including artificial intelligence.

According to a company spokesperson on Thursday, the software giant shared “an optional internal transfer opportunity with a subset of employees,” adding that Microsoft “will continue to operate.” [China] and other markets in which we are present.”

The relocation offer comes as Washington tightens export controls on technology, including advanced semiconductors, on national security grounds. The US government is also expressing increasing concern about the ability of foreign actors to exploit AI “for harmful purposes.”

The Biden administration proposed new rules in January that would require U.S. cloud companies to disclose when foreign actors train the most powerful AI models using their systems.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the relocation offer. Chinese media reported that the US group has expanded global transfer offers to employees of the company’s Azure cloud group who work in machine learning and related AI areas.

Microsoft is racing against rivals like Amazon and Google to gain market share in the rapidly evolving field of generative AI. The company is expected to prominently showcase its capabilities at its annual developer conference next week.

By partnering with the well-known start-up OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, the company took an early leadership role in this area.

Microsoft and other tech giants are racing to attract the best AI talent, even as layoffs continue to occur across the tech industry. This year, Microsoft hired most of the employees of the AI ​​start-up Inflection.

In China, Microsoft has a research and development team of engineers working on projects including integrating AI into products such as the Bing search engine.

In total, the group employs about 9,000 people in the country, with most engineers working on global products from Beijing, Shanghai or Suzhou, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in January that “China is not a big business for Microsoft” because most of its revenue comes from multinational companies with offices in the country.

He said the Chinese engineers hired by Microsoft “contribute to the intellectual property of an American company.”

The Financial Times reported last year that Microsoft had sought to recruit its top AI experts from Beijing-based Microsoft Research Asia in response to rising tensions between Beijing and Washington and as a defensive measure to prevent the drain of talent into domestic AI to move his institute in Vancouver rivals. Microsoft denied that there was such a plan.

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