Microsoft is offering relocation to hundreds of China-based employees.The offer has been made to machine learning and cloud workers, The Wall Street Journal reported.The report comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over a range of issues.

Microsoft is reportedly asking up to 800 China-based employees if they’d consider leaving the country as tensions between the US and China grow.

The company is offering workers involved in machine learning or cloud work transfers to countries like the US, Ireland, and Australia, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Representatives for Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

A spokesperson told the Journal that internal opportunities were a normal part of business, and Microsoft remained committed to its operations in China.

The report comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over issues including AI chips. The Biden administration is considering new rules that would require US tech companies to have licenses before handing over access to AI chips to Chinese customers, per the Journal.

There have been concerns harsher rules could escalate a fight with Beijing over the vital chips.

Chinese officials have also been asking domestic tech giants to buy locally-made AI chips instead of Nvidia’s, The Information reported this week.

Major tech companies like Alibaba, Baidu, TikTok parent company ByteDance, and Tencent were told to cut spending on foreign-made chips like Nvidia’s, the outlet reported, citing unnamed sources.

The move is a blow for Nvidia, which sees China as a critical market and key revenue generator.

Other tech companies have also been caught up in geopolitical tensions.

Apple has been having a rough ride in the key Chinese market, with iPhone sales taking a beating from local suppliers. The iPhone maker also appears to be working to diversify its supply chains away from China.

Beijing has been cracking down on officials’ use of iPhones. Chinese officials across at least eight provinces had been told to stop using Apple devices, Bloomberg previously reported. 

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