Microsoft reportedly asked hundreds of its China-based employees working in its cloud computing and AI operations to consider relocating to other countries due to simmering Sino-US tensions.

The Wall Street Journal stated Microsoft asked 700 to 800 employees, largely comprised of engineers with Chinese nationality, to consider relocating to countries such as the US, Republic of Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

A Microsoft representative told Mobile World Live the “offer does not impact our operations and we will continue to invest in our business and key growth areas”.

“Providing internal opportunities is a regular part of managing our global business.”

“As part of this process, we shared an optional internal transfer opportunity with a subset of employees.”

“We remain committed to the region and will continue to operate in this and other markets where we have a presence”.

The US government has attempted to limit China’s access to advanced chips used for AI applications by imposing tougher export restrictions.

In January, US President Joe Biden proposed rules requiring domestic cloud companies to tell the government when overseas players train AI models using their systems.

Microsoft entered China in 1992 and its largest R&D centre outside the US is located there.