Microsoft is planning to spend $500 million this year alone on its fast-growing research and development complex in China.
Zhang Yaqin said, "Microsoft puts great importance on China’s development. China has been a sales center for Microsoft from early on, and later became an R&D center. Now it is a strategic center."
He also said a future Microsoft R&D center in Shanghai would be able to house up to 1,500 people in its first stage, eventually expandable to 7,000. The company was also putting its Asia R&D headquarters in Beijing at a center now under construction that will be able to accommodate 8,000 researchers.
Microsoft is working on, among other things, Chinese version of its highly-hyped Bing search engine that it hopes will someday take on Google.
Reuters notes that despite closing its search site, Google still operates its own R&D center in China, and sells advertising there for its Chinese language search sites.