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Microsoft to sell Xbox One in China in September

Microsoft will later this year start offering its Xbox One game console with a local partner in China, where such devices were banned for more than a decade.

SHANGHAI: Microsoft will later this year start offering its Xbox One game console with a local partner in China, where such devices were banned for more than a decade.

"Today marks a monumental day for Xbox, as together with our partner BesTV New Media Co., we announced we will bring Xbox One to China in September of this year," Microsoft vice president Yusuf Mehdi wrote in a blog post.

"Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and 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 US$237 million joint venture in the FTZ last year to produce home entertainment equipment.

BesTV, a subsidiary of state-owned Shanghai Media Group, confirmed the timeframe for the launch in a statement, adding it will work with Microsoft to develop video games with Chinese characteristics.

The companies said Xbox One will be the first of its kind to officially launch in China, a country with nearly 500 million game players, although they did not reveal the pricing.

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

Despite the announcement, Shanghai-listed BesTV ended down 0.35 per cent at 33.83 yuan in Shanghai trading on Wednesday.

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