The latest news is further proof that the Chinese government is considering ending its 13-year ban on the sale of game consoles in the country. In July, we reported that China may be ready to allow console-makers like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft into China, on the condition that their hardware and products are manufactured in the country.
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By joining up with BesTV, Microsoft is fulfilling that exact condition, which is a strong hint that the Xbox 360 or Xbox One could soon make an appearance in the country — a huge market that analysts have predicted could add billions of dollars to the game console industry if the ban is lifted.
The ban was set up in 2000 due to concerns about the content of international games, and the possible effect that violent titles could have on young children.
BesTV will hold a 51 percent share in the joint venture named E-Home Entertainment Development, while Microsoft will take 49 percent, the Chinese company told the Shanghai Stock Exchange in a bulletin. The total investment from both companies stands at $237 million, Xinhua says.
No specific details were revealed for the plans the two companies have, nor any possible timeline.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has sent a statement to us, in full below.
We can confirm Microsoft is working with BesTV, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), to explore new opportunities in Shanghai and China. We believe there is great market potential and partnership opportunities here and look forward to sharing more details soon.
Headline image via Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images