Microsoft looks to China

Restrictions China has imposed on the Internet, including new registration rules announced last week, have also complicated matters for U.S. firms. China says its rules are intended to stop pornography, but they are also seen as stifling free speech and political activism.

Microsoft told Reuters the company is committed to the Chinese market and sees the search market in China as its most important strategic market.

For Washington, that means battles with China over Internet freedoms will increasingly impact U.S. companies looking for a foothold with China’s 350 million Internet users, a figure that will undoubtedly grow in the new decade.