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Chinese authorities visit Microsoft's China offices

The company has been subject to allegations from Chinese state media for allegedly helping the U.S. government spy on China.

By Ananth Baliga
Chinese authorities visit Microsoft's China offices
Microsoft has a strong presence in China, recently, has been under attack from state media for allegedly assisting the U.S. government's snooping program. (UPI Photo/Stephen Shaver) | License Photo

BEIJING, July 28 (UPI) -- Chinese government authorities from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce visited Microsoft's offices in four locations across the country.

The officials, from a government department that looks into antimonopoly laws and other business regulations, did not specify the reason for the visit or whether it was related to any formal investigation. The authorities visited Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, according to Joanna Li, a public relations officer for the company.

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"There was a visit from government officials to our offices," Li told The New York Times. "Given the sensitivity of the issue, I can't say anymore."

Like other U.S. technology companies, Microsoft has been under scrutiny for allegations it is helping the U.S. government spy and conduct cyber-attacks on China. Despite having immense popularity in the country, Microsoft has been at the receiving end of attacks from Chinese state media, after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelations last year.

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"We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect, and we're happy to answer the government's questions," Li said.

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The Chinese government even banned the use of Windows 8 on government computers for fear it could be used to gather sensitive information.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce, along with the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission, is tasked with enforcing China's strong antimonopoly law, which was introduced in 2008.

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The SAIC was also involved in investigating GlaxoSmithKline, whose employees were accused of bribing doctors and hospital staff to use the company's products.

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