Microsoft has launched a Chinese version of its online store in order to begin taking preorders of its Surface RT tablet in the world’s most populous nation, WPDang reports. The 32GB Surface without the Touch Cover is selling for RMB 3688 ($590), while the 32GB and 64GB versions with the cover cost RMB 4488 ($718) and RMB 5288 ($846), respectively.
Kevin Eagan, Chief Technology Strategist for Microsoft’s Stores division, was quoted as saying that the company took pride in bringing the online store to China. Previously, Microsoft sold its products online in China through Tmall, an ecommerce site run by Alibaba.
Microsoft is working with Chinese retailer Suning to sell the Surface, but the company has also taken the matter into its own hands by bringing its online store to the country.
So far, it looks like Microsoft is only selling the Surface and Office on the store, though it does link to the company’s other products, including Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Skype and Bing. In August, the company put up a Chinese promotional site for its Xbox Live service, which has yet to launch in China.
The Surface tablet goes on sale on October 26th, starting at $499 in the US. Preorders appear to have been strong, as some models of the device are listed as shipping after the initial release date. Microsoft has also revealed international pricing for Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the UK.
Microsoft reported on Thursday its results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. It brought in $16 billion in revenue and $0.53 in earnings. The company has struggled to make money in China, where software piracy is the norm even at large corporations.
Last month, it was revealed that Microsoft had petitioned China to intervene with four major state-owned enterprises with extremely high piracy rates. Still, the company is investing strongly in China, as it plans to hire 1,000 new staff there over the next year, increasing its headcount by over 20 percent.