Microsoft is to build a new research and development center in Beijing, announcing plans to establish a new Microsoft Advanced Technology Center in the city to further increase its investments in Internet technologies in China and throughout Asia.

Sina Tech reports that research at the center will primarily focus on four of Microsoft’s major online services, including its Bing search engine, online advertising (AdCenter), technology for its MSN platforms and its mobile Internet service.

Microsoft already has a search partnership with Chinese search engine Baidu, signing an agreement in July to power English results on the service. As part of the deal, the Redmond-based company received better access to China’s estimated 450 million Internet users.

Western companies, including Google and daily deals website Groupon, have found it difficult to penetrate the Chinese market, mainly due to strict censorship laws in the country.

Microsoft will integrate the former STCA (Search Technology Center Asia) and advertising technology center in Beijing, opening opportunities for hundreds of R&D personnel from the city (and also Tokyo) to gain employment with at the new Technology Center.

Harry Shum, Microsoft’s global senior vice president said that the companies efforts to establish the new center demonstrates that it pays great attention to the global Internet industry and the Chinese market.