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Joe Biden’s Blocking Expands, Hundreds of Chinese People Transported to the US

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The technology war between the United States (US) and China continues. Both are competing to master the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems which are predicted to determine the future of humanity.

The US government is seeking restrictions on chips and advanced chipmaking tools to China to hinder AI development. The reason is, the US is worried that China will use AI to strengthen its military and threaten national security.

On the other hand, this motivates China to develop the chip and AI industry independently. China is reluctant to depend on the US and accuses Joe Biden’s country of acting unfairly.

In the midst of these tensions, Microsoft offered its employees in its cloud computing and AI division based in China to move to the US.

The issue of relocating Microsoft employees in China was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. According to information, most employees in China who are offered to move to the US are engineers.

Not only to the US, relocation is also open to other countries such as Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, according to an inside source whose identity was kept confidential.

One source said Microsoft has made relocation offers to around 700-800 employees in China involved in machine learning projects and other work related to cloud computing.

In a statement to CNBC International, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the relocation plans.

“We are providing the option to take internal transfer opportunities to some employees,” said a Microsoft spokesperson, quoted from CNBC International, Friday (17/5/2024).

“We remain committed to the [China] region and continue to do business in all markets where we operate,” he explained.

The Wall Street Journal said Microsoft has around 7,000 engineers for its research and development division in the Asia Pacific region. Most of the employees are domiciled in China.

The issue of relocating Microsoft employees from China to the US emerged amidst massive US efforts to prevent China from developing advanced AI technology. In the last two years, the US has issued several policies restricting technology exports to the US.

Most recently, the Joe Biden administration is also reportedly drafting new rules to limit the export of advanced AI models such as ChatGPT which is also supported by Microsoft.

Reportedly, the US government is trying to stop companies like Microsoft, the largest cloud computing and AI player in the US, from selling or offering AI model services to foreign countries like China.

At the beginning of this year, Microsoft released a report which revealed that hackers from Russia, China and Iran had used tools from OpenAI to carry out their cyber attacks.