- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2020

The Zoom video conferencing company is making plans to hire hundreds of new workers in the U.S. as the company looks to offset the security risks associated with the company’s ties to China.

Zoom is based in California but has engineers working in China, which has contributed to security concerns expressed by U.S. officials. Now, the company wants to add as many as 500 software engineers for research and development operations to be located in Arizona and Pennsylvania. The company is looking to staff up near Arizona State University in the Phoenix area and near Carnegie Mellon University in the Pittsburgh area.

“Both Phoenix and Pittsburgh have incredibly well-educated, skilled, and diverse talent pools that are well-positioned to help support Zoom’s ongoing growth and continued success,” Eric S. Yuan, Zoom CEO, said in a statement. “We plan to hire up to 500 software engineers between these two cities in the next few years, drawing largely on the recent graduates of many universities.”

On Friday, President Trump took new action to block semiconductor shipments to China’s Huawei, by changing a Commerce Department export rule. The move is expected to put stress on the United States’ relationship with China and could cause internet and technology companies to also rethink how they do business.

The growing animosity between the U.S. and China has led to Republican senators’ new proposal this week to allow Mr. Trump the ability to sanction China because of its unwillingness to cooperate with investigations into the origins and spread of coronavirus.

Zoom was rejected by the Department of Defense for its official business last month because of safety concerns, which involve the company’s operations in China.

As videoconferencing and teleconferencing software has become a necessity amid the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has become the premier platform for many industries and institutions in the public and private sectors. The company has grown rapidly in recent months to include hundreds of millions of users and a market capitalization nearing $49 billion on Friday.

Zoom has plenty of competitors, including Facebook which recently launched its Messenger Rooms feature to seize on the social video chat growth that has propelled Zoom during the coronavirus outbreak.

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