BEIJING, Feb. 28, 2003 — Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today concluded a two-day visit to China during which the company, agencies of the Chinese government and local technology leaders agreed on several initiatives that will reinforce Microsoft’s long-term commitment to the region and to support of the Chinese software industry.
“Microsoft is very pleased to be partnering with the Chinese government and industry to develop its software industry,” said Gates. “Building on a strong base of talent and skills in its software sector, the momentum of Chinese enterprises in the use of information technologies, and strong government support, China has great potential to realize its potential as a global leader in software.”
During his stay, Gates met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and announced the Chinese government’s participation in Microsoft’s Government Security Program, which provides national governments with access to Windows source code and technical information they need to be confident in the security of the Windows platform.
Microsoft and the Beijing municipal government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which the two organizations agreed to work with local software companies for the development and servicing of these e-government solutions and training of software professionals.
Gates announced strategic partnerships with several Chinese enterprise customers, including Xi Ji Group, The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Petro China and China United Telecommuncations Corp. (China Unicom). He also met with local partners, developers, and members of the academic community during the visit.
Government Security Program, MOU Agreements Signal Microsoft’s Long-Term Commitment
China joined Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Kingdom yesterday when it became the fourth government organization to sign on to Microsoft’s Government Security Program (GSP), which gives governments access to Windows source code and technical information. Representing the China government, the China Information Technology Security Certification Center (CNITSEC) signed an agreement with Microsoft at the State Development & Planning Commission (SDPC) office to participate in the new GSP. Wang Chunzheng, Vice Chairman of the SDPC presided over the signing ceremony. Gates briefed Chinese President Jiang Zemin on the GSP agreement during today’s reception of Gates by the President.
The Government Security Program is tailored to the specialized security requirements of governments. The program is a no-fee initiative that provides program participants the ability to review Windows source code using a smart-card-based secure online access and subject to certain license restrictions.
“It’s part of the commitment to make sure that governments and industry are working together in the best possible way,” said Gates.
Microsoft is in discussions with more than 30 countries, territories and organizations regarding their interest in the program.
Microsoft also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Beijing Municipal Government, represented by Beijing Municipal Committee of Science and Technology, to work together on local software training and the development of e-government solutions. The agreement included Microsoft’s commitment to provide US$2.2 million over the next five years to establish an additional Microsoft technology facility in Beijing. This is the first Microsoft Lab in China solely dedicated to supporting technical innovation for China’s PC and device manufactures.
China Corporations, Industry Partners Building Solutions on .NET
Gates met with enterprise customers – the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Petro China, China United Telecommunications Corp., and Xi Ji Group – during his visit. Gates and the respective company leaders announced plans to work together to help the companies use Microsoft’s .NET technology to expand their mission-critical infrastructure.
Gates also gave a keynote at an Independent Software Vendors (ISV) Summit in Beijing. Over 600 ISVs attended and heard Gates share Microsoft’s vision on .NET technologies, as well as recent Trustworthy Computing efforts to improve security in Microsoft products, and the pending launch of Windows Server 2003. Gates emphasized Microsoft’s commitment to supporting the ISVs in their efforts to develop reliable IT solutions for enterprise customers and China’s e-government initiative. The summit included demonstrations of .NET-based solutions from several local partners.
China’s Academia Show off Innovative .NET Solutions
Gates addressed leaders of the academic, student and developer communities about the future of computing during the Next Generation Technology Forum, a conference attended by 2,000 developers and 6,000 students. During the talk, Gates presented awards to the winning teams of the Asia Student .NET competition. The winning team was from Singapore, and the three other finalists were from Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China and India.
Now in its second year, the competition provides an opportunity for local students who are passionate about computer science to showcase their innovations and programming skills developing XML Web Services using Visual Studio .NET. This year’s competition attracted about 15,000 students who participated through almost 3,000 teams, representing eleven Asia Pacific countries and territories. Students from all four winning teams will be hosted by Microsoft to attend the upcoming Microsoft TechEd Conference in Barcelona, and they will be able to participate to the first Worldwide Student .NET Competition.
Gates also spoke to 100 deans and other academics from prominent Chinese universities at the Dean’s Summit held in Beijing and organized by Microsoft Research Asia and the Ministry of Education. Gates discussed the opportunities Microsoft has to work with China’s academia to develop ground-breaking research and world-class IT talent.
Microsoft opened its first offices in China in 1992. The MSR Asia research facility opened in Beijing in 1998, and now employs about 120 full-time research staff and over 200 visiting scientists and students from China and around the world. Opened in 1995, the Microsoft China R & D Center in Beijing employs more than 150 employees; it is one of the largest foreign-owned software R & D centers in China. The Microsoft Global Technical Support Center in Shanghai employs over 400 persons to support customers worldwide.
Microsoft Community Affairs has also been active in China, working with local government agencies, schools and non-profit organizations. In 1999, they helped start the IT Training for Laid-off Workers program. After finding initial success through an early trial program in Dalian, the program has since expanded to three other cities – Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai in cooperation with local governments. In just over two years, the programs have trained over 600 unemployed workers, and nearly 80 percent have since found new positions in the IT industry.