Microsoft closing South Korean R&D lab

The software giant is assembling its Asia Pacific research team at its large lab in Beijing

Microsoft will close down its research center in South Korea as it shifts resources to Beijing, the company said Tuesday.

The Seoul facility used to be responsible for the localization of Windows products and services, according to a spokeswoman for Microsoft Korea. But since 2000, its 21-member team has stopped working on local projects and has only worked directly with company headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

The move has nothing to do with the business of Microsoft Korea, she said. It will improve the operating efficiency of Microsoft's global R&D labs, which include locations in Cambridge, Beijing and Bangalore.

The schedule for the shutdown is still undecided. So far, ten Seoul-based employees have been confirmed as moving to Microsoft's Redmond office, while the remaining members have the option to relocate to other global labs.

Beijing-based Microsoft Research Asia opened in May 2011, the company's largest R&D investment outside of the U.S., to develop local talent and research the emerging IT market for its global products and services. The Beijing center now has more than 230 researchers and 250 visiting scientists and students.

Microsoft isn't the only company moving out: Yahoo, HTC and Google's Motorola pulled their local offices from South Korea last year.

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