BEIJING, Sept 23 Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has cut
the selling price in China of one of its software products by
over 70 percent to counter rampant piracy.
It is the first special offer since Microsoft entered the
Chinese market in 1992, the company said.
Microsoft said it had slashed the price for Office 2007 Home
and Student Edition to 199 yuan ($29) from 699 yuan ($102). The
promotion, which started on Monday, will last through next week's
National Week holiday.
The price cut is designed to make Microsoft's products in
China more affordable and more promotions are likely in future,
said Jim Lin, the company's public relations manager in Beijing.
"With this price, we believe more customers can enjoy
authorised software products," he said.
Violation of intellectual property rights has been a running
sore in China's relations with its trading partners, including
the United States.
U.S. movie, music, software and book industry groups alone
estimate they lost $3.5 billion in China due to piracy last year,
three times more than in 2001.
Microsoft, the world's largest software firm, is among the
hardest-hit victims. Pirated versions of Microsoft's Office
software can sell in China for less than 10 yuan ($1.50).
Last month police detained the operator of a website, "Tomato
Garden", from which millions of pirated versions of Microsoft
software had been downloaded, according to media reports.
(Reporting by Michael Wei; Editing by Ken Wills)