Chinese officials have met with Microsoft to encourage the software company to maintain support for Windows XP amid fears of a massive security threat to the country.
Earlier this year Microsoft announced plans to end support for Windows XP on 8 April, 2014, despite the fact millions of customers still use it. According to data aggregator site StatsCounter, over 50 per cent of Chinese desktops still run the ten-year-old operating system.
"After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates," Microsoft warns on its Support Ends website.
"If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment."
By ending support and no longer issuing security fixes, those still running Windows XP will be susceptible to attacks from cyber criminals.
According to Techweb, deputy director of China's National Copyright Administration Yan Xiahong met with representatives from Microsoft, the global Business Software Alliance (BSA) and other software companies in order to "safeguard the interests of users in China".
Xiahong also believes that Beijing's anti-piracy efforts will be given a boost if support for Windows XP is extended. The BSA revealed in 2011 that China was one of the worst offenders globally when it came to pirating software. The 2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study claimed the country had a piracy rate of 77 per cent.