Bill Gates says Asia to spawn tech breakthroughs

BOAO, China Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:47am EDT

(From L-R) Microsoft chairman Bill Gates; Philippine President Gloria Arroyo; Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress; and Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz attend the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference in Boao, Hainan province April 21, 2007. REUTERS/China Daily

(From L-R) Microsoft chairman Bill Gates; Philippine President Gloria Arroyo; Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress; and Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz attend the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference in Boao, Hainan province April 21, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

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BOAO, China (Reuters) - Asia will increasingly become a source of technological innovation, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) Chairman Bill Gates said on Saturday.

Gates said that the quality of the work being done at Microsoft's research centers in Asia was among the best in the world -- to the extent that it was planning to more than double the staff at its campuses in Beijing and Shanghai.

"And so not only is Asia benefiting from the use of technology, Asia will be a major source of the breakthroughs and advances in technology," Gates told the annual Boao Forum for Asia on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.

Gates referred to a survey in the United States in which many respondents had said the "next Bill Gates" would come from Asia.

"I think that's true -- I think it's amazing that that's so well recognized," he said.

Gates was speaking towards the end of a trip to China during which he announced plans to offer a software package called Microsoft Student Innovation Suite for $3 to governments purchasing and giving Windows-based computers to primary and secondary students.

The initiative is part of Microsoft's goal of doubling the number of computer users to 2 billion by 2015.

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