Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted his company is looking to expand outside of China due to the country’s disappointing stance on software piracy that runs rampant within its borders.
Shifting focus from China to other Asian nations is a risky gamble for PC hardware and software makers, as China has more than 1 billion people — and a growing number of tech savvy consumers — but just 1 percent of Microsoft’s current revenue come from the country.
Instead, China will market products to India, Indonesia and other eastern nations in the next five years. These emerging markets present a new revenue stream in upstart economies that should provide better support against piracy.
“Intellectual property protection in China is not just lower than other places, it’s very low, very, very low,” Ballmer said during a recent discussion panel in Singapore. “We see better opportunities in countries like India and Indonesia than China because the intellectual property protection is quite a bit better.”
Ballmer did mention India isn’t the best country for developing software business just yet, but the Indian government has taken a more serious stance on intellectual property protection.
Microsoft and other U.S. tech companies are wise to target other countries, especially emerging markets such as India, but they still can’t completely leave behind China. Even though piracy remains a major problem in China, many software companies are still trying to find ways to grow their businesses while battling piracy.
The Chinese government now has more than 1,000 safety measures in place to supposedly prevent piracy, and western nations are pressuring China to take piracy seriously, though it’s unlikely anything will be done in the short term. The country was recently identified as one of five major pirate nations, despite a “crackdown” on piracy last month in Shanghai.