Microsoft Corp. kicked off global Windows 8 launch celebrations today in China. In the first of a series of celebrations around the world, Microsoft customers and partners joined top company executives at a gathering at Shanghai's 1933 Grand Theatre to give consumers and commercial customers a sneak peek at new hardware and apps in advance of the Windows 8 worldwide general availability on Oct. 26. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, and Ralph Haupter, corporate vice president of Microsoft and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region, attended the celebration. "Microsoft has a more than 20-year history in the Greater China Region, and we are excited to start our Windows 8 launch series in Shanghai, China, the largest PC market in the world," Haupter said. He reaffirmed the importance that Microsoft is giving to China and complimented the commitment of our hardware and developers in preparing for Windows 8 over the last couple of months. "Windows 8 ushers in a new era with amazing experiences for Chinese consumers and commercial customers and creates new opportunities for Microsoft partners," he said. Windows 8 Is Windows Reimagined Windows 8 offers a beautiful, new user interface and a wide range of apps with the grand opening of the Windows Store on Oct. 26. Today on display were 52 new devices, designed and optimized for Windows 8 by 15 Microsoft OEM partners. All these devices and more, pre-installed with Windows 8, will be available in China starting Oct. 26. Microsoft also showed Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, in China, following the announcement of its availability in China on Oct. 16. Microsoft Surface with Windows RT will be available in China at the Suning stores or http://www.suning.com and the recently launched Microsoft Online Store, www.MicrosoftStore.com.cn. The new Microsoft Online Store will provide an easy access for a broad range of Microsoft products to Chinese consumers. Windows 8 also provides opportunities for Chinese developers. They have contributed to the Windows Store with a broad range of apps making China No. 2 market worldwide for all apps available at launch, Haupter pointed out. At today's event, people are excited to interact with Windows 8 apps and games on Windows 8 devices, including AutoNavi Map, BanBao, China Telecom e Surfacing, Ctrip, PPTV, Renren, QQ, QQ Games, QQ Finance, Sina Weibo, Weather China and Youdao Dictionary. These apps fully displayed the power of the new Windows 8 technology and talent in China.