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China investigates Microsoft offices in the country

Chinese authorities have sent investigators to the offices of Microsoft Corp in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. It is not clear why the company is being probed.

BEIJING: Officials from China's corporate regulator paid visits on Monday (July 28) to software giant Microsoft's offices in four cities in the country, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft offices visited by China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce were in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, Dow Jones said, citing one of the people with knowledge of the situation, who also said that some employees were questioned.

The report did not give the names or affiliations of the people it cited. Dow Jones said the reasons for the visits were unclear.

The company has not been publicly accused of wrongdoing, the report said.

According to the report, Microsoft issued a statement saying: "We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect. We will actively cooperate with the government department's inquiry and answer related questions."

AFP could not immediately reach Microsoft for comment.

Dow Jones added that the State Administration for Industry and Commerce is China's corporate registry and also has some marketing and antitrust responsibilities. It could not be reached late Monday for comment, Dow Jones said.

Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Washington, said in May it would maintain efforts to gain approval in China for Windows 8 after Beijing announced a ban on the operating system on all new government computers.

News of the prohibition came amid a diplomatic row over an indictment in the United States of five members of a shadowy Chinese military unit for allegedly hacking US companies for trade secrets.

Foreign companies in China periodically draw scrutiny from regulators and state media. Regulators have carried out aggressive probes into alleged corruption at foreign drug companies, including Britain's GlaxoSmithKline.

And state media periodically carry reports criticising foreign firms over issues such as service and pricing, with companies including tech giant Apple and coffee icon Starbucks having drawn such attention.

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