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Microsoft Urges Hundreds Of China-Based AI Engineers To Relocate

Microsoft headquarters at, Beijing, China

Microsoft has asked hundreds of its China-based employees to consider relocating over US-China tensions regarding critical technology.

Those employees are in cloud computing and artificial intelligence roles.

Sources said the staff affected are mostly Chinese engineers who have been offered the chance to transfer to countries such as the US, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. 

The relocation offer involves around 700 to 800 machine learning and cloud computing employees.

This move comes as the Biden administration aims to impose stricter controls on China’s ability to develop advanced AI. 

The White House is considering new regulations requiring US cloud-computing companies, including Microsoft, to obtain licenses before providing Chinese customers access to AI chips.

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The Biden administration aims to impose stricter controls on China’s ability to develop advanced AI

A Microsoft spokesperson said offering internal transfer opportunities is part of the company’s global operations. 

They confirmed that a subset of employees had been given the option to relocate.

However, they added that Microsoft is committed to the Chinese market, ensuring operations in China will continue.

In Washington, Microsoft’s cloud and AI research activities in China have attracted the attention of policymakers. 

Microsoft employs approximately 7,000 engineers in its Asia-Pacific research and development division, mostly based in China. 

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The Chinese cloud and AI team significantly contribute to Microsoft’s global R&D efforts for its core products. 

Employees asked to consider relocation are a segment of the larger group of engineers dedicated to Microsoft’s cloud initiatives. 

Those who opt not to relocate will retain their positions in China.

Sources said the relocation offer was made earlier this week.

Globally, Microsoft is heavily investing in AI infrastructure across its diverse business portfolio, which includes cloud computing and gaming. 

The company has recently committed billions of dollars to developing data centers worldwide, reflecting its strategic focus on expanding AI capabilities.

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