Microsoft to sell Xbox in China after a 14-year ban

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Shanghai: Microsoft will sell Xbox one, the gaming console, in China after the 14-year ban was lifted this January. Microsoft in collaboration with BesTV New Media Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, will launch the console in September. Microsoft vice-president Yusuf Mehdi announced in a blog adding that it’s a milestone for the industry.

In January China formally authorised the domestic sale of game consoles made in its first free trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai, potentially opening up a lucrative market to players such as Microsoft and Japan’s Sony and Nintendo.

The relaxation of a decade-long ban – despite which the devices are widely available – does not apply to console imports. But Microsoft and BesTV set up a $237 million joint venture in the FTZ last year to produce home entertainment equipment.

China’s game revenue jumped 38% year-on-year to 83.2 billion yuan ($13.7 billion) in 2013, according to one industry estimate, although the market was dominated by online computer games.