Microsoft to add R&D staff

Updated: 2011-07-28 09:51

By Chen Limin (China Daily)

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Microsoft to add R&D staff

Nongfu Spring water on sale as usual in a supermarket in Beijing on Sunday, despite a father and son claiming they found worm eggs in the caps of some of the brand's bottles.[Photo / China Daily]

SHANGHAI - Microsoft Corp plans to add 750 employees to its research operations in the Asia-Pacific region during the second half of this year, a move to boost research and development (R&D) outside the US.

The new employees will be mainly responsible for research into cloud computing, searching and digital entertainment, said Zhang Yaqin, corporate vice-president of Microsoft and chairman of the Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group.

He said Chinese staff have been responsible for much R&D work on Microsoft products, such as Kinect, its hit motion-sensing gaming device.

"We will add more features to the Kinect device, for example, combining searching and social features," he said.

Most of the research in the Asia-Pacific region will be shared in other countries, he added.

The hiring drive, which will start in September, will boost the regional staff to almost 4,000.

With cloud computing and searching business included among the R&D focuses, Zhang said the research efforts will also benefit Microsoft's Bing search business in China.

Chinese users account for 8.6 percent of Bing's global total, according to domestic research company Analysys International, and Bing is still a tiny player in online searches in China.


Microsoft to add R&D staff

Zhang said the search business is "getting better and better", but he said the company hasn't set a goal for Bing in China's search market, where players have been grabbing share from Google Inc since it redirected its mainland traffic to Hong Kong starting last March.

Bing had 14.1 percent of the US search market in May, after Google's 65.5 percent and Yahoo Inc's 15.9 percent, according to website measurement company comScore.

In China, Baidu Inc held more than 75 percent of the market.

Microsoft has entered into a partnership with Baidu to provide English language results from its Bing search engine on Baidu's result pages. Through this, the company intends to reach out to more users in the world's largest Internet market.

The Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, Microsoft's biggest research division outside the United States, has more than 3,000 scientists and engineers in nine cities in the region, including Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney and Bangkok.

Beijing is the group's headquarters.

Yahoo also plans an aggressive expansion of its Chinese R&D operations, having added more than 100 people last year to its Beijing R&D center, Chief Product Officer Blake Irving said in May.




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