Microsoft staying in China, regardless of Google's move

It is unclear whether the U.S. Trade Representative supports such an approach. But many congressional lawmakers have recently signaled an interest in taking at least some course of corrective action to address China's censorship standards.

A forthcoming bill by Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinGorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings Gorsuch: I'm 'sorry' for ruling against autistic student Mattis on defense budget boost: 'America can afford survival' MORE (Ill.) would levy civil or criminal penalties on U.S. Internet companies that fail to adequately safeguard human rights in foreign countries, China included. However, it is still unclear how that legislation might work, much less whether other lawmakers and businesses would support it.

Still, increase commercial and political pressure seems not to have deterred Microsoft from maintaining its current China operations. Some even believe Microsoft is now moving to fill the prospective void that could be created by the withdrawal of its competitors from China's sizable Web market.

"We hope to achieve a relatively important place in the China search market," Zhang said. "But we must be very patient, we still need a lot of time."