In his brief visit to Seattle, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with some of the most powerful businessmen in the world. In a single meeting, he sat across from 30 remarkably wealthy CEOs, four of which have been indexed on The World’s Billionaire List from Forbes.
To set itself apart, Microsoft arranged quite the exhibition for the influential world leader, The New York Times reports. This includes a banquet, where chief executive Satya Nadella and co-founder Bill Gates could be found sitting on either side of Mr. Xi’s principal aide. After weeks of planning a campus tour to show off their new products, Microsoft helped treat Xi to a day-long Internet forum.
Microsoft’s relationship with China is, at times, tepid. Although Windows is more popular in China than anywhere else in the world, it’s also most likely to be obtained illegitimately, sparking some major piracy concerns for Microsoft and causing the multibillion dollar conglomerate to lose billions of dollars in revenue. Of course, it doesn’t help that it’s illegal to purchase Windows 8 in China, while Windows 10 is still pending government approval.
Clearly, Microsoft has some work to do in terms of international relations, and it’s actively making an effort to see that that’s taken care of while the President is in town.
The fact that Facebook is also banned from China should be worrying for Microsoft. Strict government restrictions on web access are standing in the way of connecting 600 million Chinese Internet users to the rest of the online world. And with Mark Zuckerberg reportedly speaking fluent Chinese at the meeting with Mr. Xi, Facebook might have a leg up on Microsoft in strengthening its relationship with China.
The authoritative Chinese leader himself has a Facebook page — even though he’s the only one who can see it. While it’s hard to say for certain, it’s not likely he’s on MSN.
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