An antitrust regulator said on Aug 26 that Microsoft Corp has not been fully transparent with its sales data on the software it distributes in China, including information on sales of its media player and web browser software.
Zhang Mao, head of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, said in Beijing that Microsoft has expressed willingness to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
“After multiple meetings, including at high levels, they’ve expressed a willingness to respect Chinese law and collaborate with investigating officials,” Zhang said.
The Microsoft investigation comes amid a series of antitrust probes into foreign firms in China, including mobile chipset maker Qualcomm and German carmaker Daimler’s luxury auto unit Mercedes-Benz.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce said earlier this month that Microsoft is suspected of violating China’s anti-monopoly law.
This is in relation to problems with compatibility, bundling and document authentication for its Windows operating system and Microsoft Office software.
“The investigation is ongoing and we will disclose the results to the public in a timely fashion,” Zhang said, adding that the Microsoft probe is one of nine investigations opened this year that include the software, tobacco, telecommunications, insurance, tourism and utilities sectors.
The companies involved in the nine investigations comprise domestic, foreign, State-owned enterprises and trade associations, according to Zhang.
Microsoft China Chief Executive Ralph Haupter did not respond to Zhang’s comments, saying only that more work needs to be done on Chinese information safety protection.
An industry insider said on Aug 26 that despite policy barriers, global tech giants can still enjoy great opportunities in China if they can find the right marketing strategy.
Derek Shen, China head of the United States social networking website LinkedIn, said foreign tech companies should understand Chinese requirements when doing business in the country.
“To survive in China, they have to figure out the strengths that are difficult for local rivals to replicate,” he said.
“It is a tough task even for Google, because its technological edge can be quickly overrun by Baidu or Tencent Holdings. Overseas tech giants seem unaccustomed to the Chinese marketing climate.”