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Microsoft, Shanghai Ink Deal
Microsoft Inc., the world's largest software company, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai government yesterday to boost development of the local software industry.

At the same time, Shanghai Mayor Xu Kuangdi promised during his meeting with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates that the city will continue its battle against pirated software.

According to the memorandum, Microsoft will upgrade its Asia Regional Engineering Center to its fifth global technology support center, providing online technological assistance to the company's customers worldwide.

"Since we set up this center five years ago, it has been growing very quickly," said Gates. "Now it has 500 employees and we are very surprised by the quality of talent we have recruited here."

"Besides this upgrade, we will expand our investment by setting up a joint venture in Shanghai to provide software support services through the Web," he noted, without providing details about the planned venture.

Under the memorandum, the city government will buy an undisclosed number of software systems from Microsoft, which in return promised to offer its latest technology and training services within three years.

"Shanghai is the host city of APEC and a leader of China's economy. This purchasing agreement, we hope, can symbolize a pledge made by all levels of the Chinese government to support the official software and say good-bye to any form of piracy," Xu said.

Gates said Microsoft can help the municipal government to improve efficiency by offering its latest products. The memorandum also underlined a decision made by Microsoft and the city government to form a strategic partnership.

"It's a deepening of our partnership with the Shanghai government, and it will be mutually beneficial," said Michael Rawding, Asia president of Microsoft.

Microsoft also announced the launch of its Architect 2000 project, under which 2,000 software developers at local companies and government agencies can pay only 1,500 yuan (US$180) for its five-day software engineering training, compared with a US$3,000 fee in the United States.

(Eastday.com October 19, 2001)

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