BEIJING – June 19, 2023 – Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), Microsoft’s only research institution in China, has denied rumors that it plans to leave China and move to Vancouver, Canada.
Recently, there had been rumors that Microsoft intended to withdraw MSRA from China and relocate it to Vancouver. In response to these speculations, MSRA categorically stated that the news was false.
Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported, citing four informed sources, that the Beijing-based Microsoft Research Asia had begun seeking visas to move top artificial intelligence experts from Beijing to its research facility in Vancouver. The sources indicated that this move could potentially affect 20 to 40 employees. An individual close to Microsoft stated that the company is currently establishing a new laboratory in Canada composed of experts from around the world.
According to a post published by Microsoft in September of last year, the company employs 9,000 workers in China, over 80% of whom are software engineers or engaged in research and development. The company also announced plans to hire an additional 1,000 employees in the country.
The Microsoft Asia Research Institute, established in 1998, is one of Microsoft’s research institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. Notably, it is the second basic research institution that Microsoft has established overseas, and it is the largest research institution outside the United States. It is one of only two basic research institutions in Asia, with the other being the Microsoft India Research Institute.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of scholars and experts from various disciplines and backgrounds around the world, the MSRA has developed into a world-class institution for basic and applied computer research. It is known that MSRA is engaged in research in areas such as natural user interfaces, intelligent multimedia, artificial intelligence, cloud and edge computing. It is committed to advancing the frontiers of science, swiftly integrating the latest research results into Microsoft’s key products, and further enhancing the company’s competitiveness.
Also, MSRA has supported more than 70 scientific research cooperation projects at Peking University, involving multiple research areas such as graphics and images, artificial intelligence, new media, software engineering, and natural language processing. More than 80 teachers from Peking University and over 200 students have participated in these projects.
According to the official website of Microsoft, the head of MSRA is Zhou Lidong.
Zhou Lidong currently holds multiple key positions: he is the corporate vice president of Microsoft, chief scientist of Microsoft Asia Pacific R&D Group and managing director of Microsoft Asia Research Institute. He is fully responsible for the lab’s overall research and development activities, as well as collaborations with academic and industrial partners in the Asia Pacific region.