Windows 10 free upgrade for unlicsenced versions
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore demonstrates Windows 10 which will launch this year with China a major focus for the companyReuters

Microsoft has announced an aggressive strategy to tackle the piracy problem in China by promising free upgrades to Windows 10 even if users are using unlicensed versions of its software.

Speaking at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit held in Shenzen, China, Microsoft's Terry Myserson also announced partnerships with three major Chinese brands - Lenovo, Tencent and Qihoo 360 - in a bid to drive adoption of its new operating system in what is seen as one of the most important markets for all technology companies.

Myerson reiterated the company's offer to give all users of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 the option to upgrade to Windows 10 for one year after the new software is released - which was confirmed as being summer 2015 by Myerson.

Microsoft has now confirmed that it will be including those using non-genuine version of Windows 10 in the free upgrade cycle.

"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," Myserson told Reuters adding that the company's plan is to "re-engage" with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China - though he wouldn't extrapolate on this plan.

Chines piracy problem

Despite having PC sales similar to the US, Microsoft only sees a fraction of the revenue it does in its home territory (around 5% according to some reports) which indicates the huge problem of pirated versions of Windows in China.

Microsoft's direct partnerships with Chinese companies is a way for the company to supercharge the adoption rate of people onto Windows 10.

As part of the deals with Chinese firms will see Lenovo, the world's biggest PC manufacturer, offer Windows 10 upgrade services at 2,500 of its service centres and some of its retail stores in China. The company has also committed to building Windows smartphones which will be released mid-2015 on the world's largest phone network China Mobile.

Tencent, the social network which is the fifth largest internet company in the world, will include popular apps such as QQ, which has over 800 million customers in China, and bring their most popular PC games to the Windows 10 platform.

Finally, internet security company Qihoo 360, which has over 500 million customers on Windows PCs, will enable the Windows 10 upgrade "with just a few clicks with accelerated download speeds".

Windows 10 is a radical overhaul of Microsoft's operating system and will work on devices as varied as desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, games consoles, servers and even Internet of Things products.

With China one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, Microsoft is clearly eager to get a foothold in the territory and to that end has announced a mysterious partnership with Android smartphone maker Xiaomi which will see select users of the company's popular Mi 4 smartphone being incited to "help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year."