‘We Are All Part of a Global and Innovative Marketplace’

As you can tell from the CIIE, there is a huge opportunity for all of us to engage and support here.

Even during pandemic times, China has always taken the lead in bringing the economy back on a global level, Joe Bao, President of Microsoft China, said in an interview with Beijing Review reporter Ma Miaomiao during the Fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on November 6. Edited excerpts of the interview follow:

Beijing Review: What is your take on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the opening ceremony of this year’s CIIE?

Joe Bao: It’s our great pleasure to attend the CIIE for the fourth year in a row. I think President Xi made two very strong remarks at the opening ceremony. The first was centered on how we can drive the digital economy through tech innovation. As Microsoft, we are committed to helping all the customers and partners realize that vision. As the first multinational to bring our cloud services into China, as of spring of 2022, the launch of our new data centers will boost our overall service scale by 12 times. With that, we’re bringing more talent, more digital transformation and more innovation to the market. The second point that President Xi talked about focused on sustainability and carbon neutrality. For us, we are committed to, not only as Microsoft, delivering on those goals, but helping all of China’s companies and partners deliver on that vision as well.

Joe Bao, President of Microsoft China

Beijing Review: How will Microsoft explore more possibilities in achieving sustainable development as China has introduced the goal of carbon neutrality?

Joe Bao: As Microsoft ourselves, we’ve committed to being carbon neutral by 2030. As a matter of fact, by 2050, our commitment is to have removed all carbon from the environment that we’ve emitted since our inception in 1975. It’s not just tech companies that need to set that goal, we need to empower all of our customers and partners to achieve that as well.

We just made a couple of announcements along with SGS (a Swiss testing, inspection and certification company) in order to build an S-Carbon management platform [to manage enterprises’ carbon emission targets and help those enterprises enhance their international competitiveness and green financing ability under the carbon neutrality goal]. And we have other partners like Ecolab (a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services), which is really reducing water waste and looking to achieve zero waste.

Beijing Review: How do you view the changes in the Chinese market over the past two decades since China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO)? What kind of opportunities and challenges do you think the market will continue to bring?

Joe Bao: As you can tell from the CIIE, there is a huge opportunity for all of us to engage and support here. I think joining the WTO has only allowed and opened up more fair trade. For our purposes, the goal is to help our multinational customers come to China, obtain a fair and equitable place to thrive and help Chinese companies go global. Ultimately, we’re all part of a global and innovative marketplace.

Photo taken on Nov. 14, 2019 shows the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, the United States. (Photo/Xinhua)

The other thing that Microsoft is doing, is really helping to retrain and re-skill our workforce to get ready for that digital future.

Beijing Review: How do you view the prospects of the Chinese market? Do you have confidence in doing business in or with China?

Joe Bao: Even during pandemic times, China has always taken the lead in bringing the economy back on a global level. And we’re seeing that more foreign direct investment is continually coming into China, rather than leaving it. We’re seeing, more from a manufacturing supply chain perspective, that more companies are investing in China. So we’re very excited to participate in the innovation. We’re excited about bringing the platform and services to enable our customers and partners to do more. And our mission remains true: We want to empower every individual and every organization on the planet to achieve more.