Microsoft Stores all close their doors in China

Slump in Surface sales suspected as one reason for move online

Microsoft has closed its physical shops in mainland China, leaving sale of its products to partners and online sellers, including its own website.

According to Chinese state-sponsored media, Microsoft claimed it would focus on sales through the channel when serving the nation. Industry experts reportedly blamed declining interest in Surface products and insufficient profit for the closures.

Microsoft China has not responded to requests from The Register for detail, but has confirmed the closure to other outlets.

The Microsoft branded bricks and mortar stores may no longer exist, but retail partners and will still sell the products – as will e-commerce storefronts like those on Taobao and

The South China Morning Post reported that June 30 was the deadline for shutting the shops.

Apple, whose bricks and mortar success is believed to have inspired Microsoft's retail push, lists 47 stores on its website operating in Mainland China, with more still in places like Hong Kong and Macau. Its retail philosophy differs from Microsoft, as the fruiterer relies less on third-party retailers.

Microsoft began "a strategic change in its retail operations" in June of 2020, which saw it move away from physical retail shops worldwide – keeping those in London, New York City, Sydney and its own Redmond Campus. Mainland China was exempt from this strategy at the time, as it operated under a franchise model.

In addition to Microsoft – the retail chain – quitting China, Microsoft – the software and technology titan – has been pulling employees out of the Middle Kingdom since May.

It offered up to 800 China-based employees the chance to relocate to the US, Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland. That relocation, however, was optional – and overall operations in China remain.

According to June congressional testimony from Microsoft vice-chairman and president Brad Smith, revenue won in China accounts for around 1.5 percent of the business's total take. ®

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