Microsoft offices are coming up all over China like earthworms after a rain.

Chengdu public art and some out of town tourists.

 

My team went to the new Xbox Live Arcade incubation center in Chengdu a few weeks ago. It is not really an MS office in the usual sense but more like a school/development center in the Chengdu suburbs to train third party Chinese game companies geared up for writing content on the Xbox Live Arcade platform. Since we were first party casual game developers, we needed to be sensitive to needs of other companies to maintain secrecy on what projects they are working on. For many of these small companies, the way that MS writes software and does things differs very much with how they code and set project milestones. This center hopes to make that transition a little less painful.

Just to get the dev kits in required special permission from the government since consoles of all types are still technically illegal in China (although a large and growing grey market exists for retail units). For both MS and these Chinese game companies, this is a long term committment.

Overall, Chengdu is a fun city and has many incentives for MNC's to come and set up offices and plants in Chengdu.  Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province which is the most populous province in China. The food is very spicy if you like that sort of thing. The lifestyle is laid back and the people of Chengdu love to eat and play games all day and all night long. Pay and costs are also lower which is why some Beijing and Shanghai companies are looking into Chengdu for software development in the future.

 

 All day Mahjong.

Oh yea, Chengdu is also the city most associated with giant pandas too. There are pictures of them everywhere.

 

note the little green object on the lower right

-frank yu