SHENZHEN, China – March 10, 1999 – Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates is no stranger to China – he has visited the country six times in the past five years. But today marks his first visit to Shenzhen, a rapidly growing Special Economic Zone in southern China. The visit focused on a major government Internet initiative, significant new agreements on intellectual property protection, and a preview of
an innovative new technology developed specifically for China.
Gates participated in the signing ceremony for Government On-Line, an initiative designed to help government become more service-oriented through increased efficiency, higher quality of service and information sharing. This strategic partnership between China Telecom, the State Economic and Trade Commission, and over 40 government ministries will build a software infrastructure using the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server operating system, Microsoft SQL Server
7.0 and Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5.
Addressing more than 60 government officials at the signing ceremony, Gates envisioned a
“digital nervous system”
for the Chinese government.
“The Internet is having an increasingly significant impact on our society, changing the way we work, learn, communicate and live,”
“A digital nervous system complements this by using Microsoft software and Internet technology to help make companies and governmental organizations more efficient and productive than ever. We will strengthen cooperation with all parties, including the Chinese government, to accelerate the development of the information industry, with the government setting an example of leadership through this project.”
Gates also signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s State Economic and Trade Commission for the promotion of Internet technology in state-owned enterprises in China.
While in Shenzhen, Gates announced the code-named
project, a product developed in China at the Microsoft Research and Development Center in Beijing.
“Venus” will be a Windows® CE-based set-top box that makes advanced computing as simple and inexpensive as using a home appliance. The device, specifically designed for China, will bring entertainment, education and communication technology into the homes of many families that couldn’t otherwise afford it. Major computer companies and consumer-electronics manufacturers, including Legend, Acer Advanced Labs Inc., Stone, BBQ, Haier, ESS and ITE, introduced technologies that support the
project, and industry figures such as Legend President Liu Chuanzhi and Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin flew to Shenzhen to join Gates in the product announcement.
Gates signed a significant agreement with the People’s Bank of China (PBC) to jointly protect intellectual property rights and to promote the use of legal software. According to the agreement, PBC will license, under one contract, Microsoft products to be used extensively in all departments under PBC headquarters, their branch offices and subsidiary institutions. As part of the agreement, Microsoft will provide technical training, consulting services and telephone support. Microsoft will also provide year 2000 support to PBC. Chen Jing, director of the science and technology and payment department of PBC, was present at the signing ceremony.
Gates also met with Shenzhen Communist Party Secretary Zhang Gao-Li and Shenzhen Vice Mayor Li De-Cheng to discuss the future of the information technology industry and
Microsoft’s commitment to China’s IT development. At the meeting, Microsoft and the Shenzhen Municipal Government signed an agreement of cooperation to promote the use of legal software and to protect intellectual property rights in Shenzhen. Under the agreement, the Shenzhen Municipal Government commits to mandating the use of legal software by all Shenzhen government agencies.
“This is Mr. Gates’ sixth visit to China over the last five years,”
said Juliet Wu, general manager of Microsoft China.
“These activities clearly indicate Microsoft’s long-term development and investment strategy in China. Microsoft China is committed to working closely with the Chinese government and industry to provide China with the latest and most advanced technology and products to contribute to China’s drive in building up a knowledge economy for the next century.”
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