Microsoft is set to hire several thousand new employees in China during the next year, as part of the company's expanded support of new cloud computing services running Azure and smartphones running Windows Phone.

Microsoft is looking to expand its workforce in China, which currently has 4,000 employees, to add several thousand more (no exact number of employees was mentioned). Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed this expansion during a press conference in Shanghai China. "l visited China last about one year ago in May and it is remarkable to me how much has changed. At Microsoft this is an incredibly exciting time," Ballmer stated.

According to Ballmer, China has been one of the fastest growing markets for the company's Windows Phone platform. On top of that, Microsoft is planning on launching a public preview of Windows Azure in China beginning next month. This marks the first multi-national organization to offer cloud computing in the region. Microsoft is looking to bring its Azure cloud platform to a region where software-on-desktop demand has dropped.

Azure makes it easy to store business information and programs on remote servers, ultimately allowing customers to access this data via the internet. Customers can run corporate programs, websites, and apps from Microsoft's data centers and not have to worry about playing for server storage and all the work involved in its upkeep.