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Deals Set Stage for Chinese President's Visit to Microsoft

Chinese computer manufacturer Founder Technology Group Corp. signed an agreement Wednesday with Microsoft Corp. as part of an overall effort to crack down on widespread software piracy in China.

Founder Technology President Qi Dongfeng said the company would buy $250 million worth of licenses for a Chinese version of Windows over the next three years, to be used on computers sold in China. The two companies also agreed to work together to promote the use of genuine versions of Windows.

The agreement, which company officials signed at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters, follows high-level talks Tuesday between U.S. and Chinese officials in which China pledged to crack down on piracy and require computers to use legal software. Piracy is thought to be extremely widespread in China, hampering Microsoft's efforts to make money in the vast and growing market.

The signing ceremony also comes ahead of a visit next week by Chinese President Hu Jintao, who will visit Microsoft headquarters and dine at the home of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

Other computer manufactures also have already begun efforts to increase the number of computers running legitimate Windows versions.

Last week, Chinese PC manufacturer Tsinghua Tongfang Co. Ltd. signed an agreement to purchase $120 million worth of Windows licenses over the next three years for the Chinese market.

And in November, computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. pledged to start loading most of the computers it manufactures for China with the Windows operating system. Lenovo is based in Purchase, N.Y., but manufactures its computers in China.

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