Although it's been rumored and hinted at for a little while that Microsoft was planning on releasing Windows Phone 7 in the second half of 2011 for China, today it was confirmed by Yang Tianyang, Microsoft's communications sector director for the Greater China region.

The announcement is pretty huge for a few reasons. For one, the market in China is obviously quite large, giving Microsoft ample opportunity to potentially sell millions of devices. In 2010, 62 million smartphones are expected to be sold, up from 21 million just one year earlier. Number two, historically, Windows Mobile was one of the top selling mobile OSs in that country, meaning Microsoft has some positive legacy to build off of. On the other hand, just like everywhere else in the world, China is plagued by mass iPhone and Android adoption, making the challenge their just as significant as it is here in the States.

The other big news is that Microsoft is in talks with Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei to build WP7 devices specifically for China. Huawei is already a huge contender in the Android market but who knew Lenovo was in on the game too? While we'll probably never see such devices over here, it's good for Microsoft to continue to augment that OEM portfolio.

Source: Network World