From earlier this month:
Microsoft is on track to outsource more than 1,000 jobs a year to China, according to blistering evidence released yesterday in Microsoft’s increasingly nasty spat with Google over an employee who jumped ship in July.
In a revelation that highlights the complexity of China President Hu Jintao’s visit to Seattle and Microsoft on Monday, legal filings detailed claims of how Microsoft had offended the Chinese government by not outsourcing as many jobs as promised to Chinese technology vendors.
Chief Executive Steve Ballmer visited China in 2003 and promised to step up the pace, from $33 million worth of work a year to $55 million a year, according to a statement by Kai-Fu Lee, a former vice president who left to work for Google in July. Lee was charged with smoothing over relations with China and finding jobs that could be shifted to Chinese contract workers.
This puts things into perspective, but still…:
“We are growing our work force there and will continue to do so; however, that growth has not and will not replace jobs here in Redmond,” spokeswoman Stacy Drake said.
The Chinese leadership has learned from the fate of the late Soviet Union, they are determined to keep things under control, no matter how far along economic liberalization is coming. Of course, tactics like these are pushing all the wrong buttons in the West. If there ever is a (inevitably highly destructive, mostly to China) trade war with China over this, it will be mostly due to Beijing’s short-sighted behavior. Unfortunately the risk is still worthwhile for the communists, in an extremely selfish kind of way, for they’d rather rule over a ruined country than have an increasingly prosperous China they are unable to control anymore.