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April 18, 2007

Bill Gates goes to China

Posted by Kristi Heim at 5:10 PM


ALAN BERNER / SEATTLE TIMES

Bill Gates has been a widely recognized figure in China for years, as evident in the Shanghai airport book store, which had his biography prominently displayed in this 2005 photo.

It's one measure of how far Chinese media and Internet technology have come that China Central Television (CCTV) and Internet portal Sina are asking for questions from Internet users for a TV interview with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who is visiting China this week.

It's also a measure of how far Microsoft has come in its long march toward finding the right business strategy in China. After years of fits and starts, the company has made a lot of progress over the last year.

In late 2005 Lenovo became the first Chinese hardware maker to agree to preinstall Windows software on new machines. Now the two companies are partnering to open a research and development center. And Microsoft is finally announcing software prices that consumers in developing countries can afford.

It's also worth noting that the U.S. software industry, of which Microsoft is far and away the largest and most important player, didn't participate in the recent WTO case against China. The complaint mentions books, music, videos and movies.

As for Gates, some questions people in China are asking him are posted here.

Among them are:

Do you think China's software industry will surpass India's?

What's your outlook on the world today?

Is your success thanks to yourself or to your good luck in business?

When are you going to make Windows source code public?

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