BEIJING, China – May 25, 2011 – Microsoft Corporation’s CEO Steve Ballmer led the grand opening ceremony for Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group Headquarters today in Beijing - a sign of the company’s focus on China as a key growth market and location for future innovation. Three years in the making since first breaking ground in May 2008, the campus opens a new chapter for Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group (ARD), and represents the company’s largest R&D investment outside of the United States. Microsoft intends to leverage the new facility to further develop China-based talent and research as a core contributor to its global portfolio of products and services, and industry-defining innovations, as well as to competitively address its rising IT market.
An audience of more than 120 senior Chinese government officials, employees, partners and business leaders attended the opening ceremony, which included a ribbon-cutting and tree-planting ceremony. Mr. Zhao Fengtong, Beijing Municipal Committee Standing Committee member and Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park’s Administrative Committee Secretary; and Mr. Shi Dinghuan, State Council Counselor, were both present to make remarks in support of Microsoft and the new R&D headquarters.
“When Microsoft first opened in Zhongguancun 20 years ago, it set into action a vision of growth and innovation that we shared with the Chinese government and emerging local industry. That vision has come full circle with Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific R&D Group Headquarters – which now lays a vital platform for Microsoft’s future and our belief in China’s ambitions to transform to an innovation-driven economy.” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation. “The ARD headquarters is destined to be a source of global ideas and regional momentum for generations to come as Microsoft continues to invest in China as a significant source of talent, innovation and opportunity.”
“The central government, the State Council and the Beijing municipal government have all paid huge attention to the development of Zhongguancun by providing a supportive environment with preferential policies,” said Mr. Zhao. “We need to better leverage these policies and ensure their effective implementation to create the best platform for innovation.”
During his remarks Mr. Shi pointed out that 2011 is the start of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan and the 20th anniversary of the China High-Tech Industrial Development Zone. He also highlighted 2011 marks Microsoft’s 20th anniversary in Zhongguancun, during which time the company has made significant contributions to the high-tech district’s development and to the development of China’s IT industry.Driving local impact
Located in Beijing’s Zhongguancun area, the ARD headquarters offers a strong local symbol of China’s development; Microsoft’s 20-year presence in the district, also known as China’s Silicon Valley, has expanded in tandem with the local economy and IT ecosystem. It sets an agenda for the future that solidly supports the development of the area’s talent base, as well as China’s national ambitions to transform into an innovation-driven economy as outlined in the recent 12th Five-Year Plan.
“Innovation in IT and the rise of China are two irresistible forces. We are fortunate to be situated at their intersection and pleased to start a new leg of our innovation journey in Zhongguancun,” said Ya-Qin Zhang, corporate vice president of Microsoft, and chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group. “Microsoft will evolve with China’s innovation ecosystem and prosper together with our partners.“
The new campus – consisting of two high-rise buildings and 150,000 square meters of space – will ultimately grow ARD’s operations to a full capacity of 5,000. Currently 3,000 researchers, partners and engineers from ARD, which includes Microsoft Research Asia (MSR Asia), the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), Server and Tools Business (STB) China, Microsoft Asia Center for Hardware (MACH) and many other product R&D organizations, are housed there. The facilities include two top-floor laboratories with more than 10,000 servers in a showcase green data center; and apply the world’s latest technologies to create two of the most environmentally-efficient and technologically-advanced buildings in China.