A Microsoft executive has announced the company will hire 1,000 additional workers in China, adding to its current total of 4,500 employees in the country. The move is being made to increase the company's sales of software in a market where illegal software sales far outpace the amount of legal software purchases.
Reuters reports that Microsoft's Ralph Haupter, the CEO for the company's China operations, made the announcement at a press conference earlier today. Haupter said the impending hires are part of a sales and marketing initiative the company is undertaking to reach customers in China's public sector, such as local governments. BusinessWeek reports the upcoming hires will take place during the course of the next year.
In addition to the hiring announcement, Microsoft also announced the company will increase its funding for research in the country by 15 percent. Microsoft currently spends $500 million on research in the country, meaning it will add $75 million for research in the upcoming year.
Microsoft's failed to obtain much of a foothold in China because of intellectual property infringement. CEO Steve Ballmer cited the problem during a trip to the country earlier this year, saying intellectual property rights in China were "weak." BusinessWeek's report cited figures from the Business Software Alliance claiming China's illegal software market is worth more than $9 billion, whereas its market for legal software is worth less than $3 billion. Despite this issue, China remains the largest market for personal computers and mobile phones.