Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Chinese President hangs with Bill Gates

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Seattle on Tuesday and was warmly received by Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire and Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz amongst others.

A three-course, 100-guest reception dinner was held in Gates $100 Million mansion, hosted by Gov Gregoire. Everyone seemed to have fun.

Hu then visited the Redmond campus and the Microsoft Home of the Future which seemed to impress him.

Although the itinerary appears to be largely trade-based, Hu and Gates seem to have struck an amicable friendship.

During the tour, Hu was greeted by elementary school students from Seattle's John Stanford International School. Hu wrote for the children "Long live the China-America friendship," in Chinese on a Microsoft Tablet PC.

While expressing admiration for what Gates has achieved at Microsoft, Hu also added jovially that, “Because you, Mr. Bill Gates, are a friend of China, I'm a friend of Microsoft," according to The Seattle Times.

"Also, I am dealing with the operating system produced by Microsoft every day," he added, amid laughter. I hope that it doesn't crash too much for the Chinese President?

"I'd also like to take this opportunity to assure you, Bill Gates, that we will certainly honor our words in protecting intellectual property rights," Hu said. That will be the day, but at least they are trying.

In efforts to allay Microsoft’s concerns before setting off on this trip, the Chinese government issued a notice on Apr. 12, to call on computer manufacturers to pre-install legal operating system software in their machines, so that manufacturers and buyers will be less likely to use pirated Windows software.

Recognizing this too, Gates responded: "Thank you, it's a fantastic relationship. And if you ever need advice on how to use Windows, I'll be glad to help."

Hu will only meet U.S. president George W. Bush tomorrow for a “social lunch”, after visiting Boeing plant in Everett for a showcase on the Boeing 787. I suspect that President GWB will be talking about copywrite and privacy laws, as well as Taiwan, Iran and North Korea with President Wu.

Earlier, also on Apr. 12, Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi led the signing of the purchase agreement for 80 Boeing Next-Generation 787 airplanes valued at $4.6 billion, in hopes of easing the tension that the U.S. is feeling against the growing trade deficit with China which I beleive was $202 Billion last year.

I hope George puts on a good old Texas BBQ for President Wu.

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