Microsoft is set to begin selling the Xbox One in China from September through its partnership with local internet TV vendor, BesTV New Media.
Both companies will also embark on an initiative to help developers create, publish, and sell titles on the game console in the country as well as other markets, Microsoft said. "This is a historic moment in our partnership as we work toward the first official Xbox launch in China. Xbox One will also be the first system of its kind to launch in China," said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate vice president of marketing for Xbox.
The Chinese government in January announced it would lift a 14-year ban on game consoles, permitting such devices to be sold in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Foreign companies will be allowed to manufacture and market the consoles in the free trade zone, but game titles will be subject to censorship.
More than 5 million Xbox One units have been sold across 13 countries since its launch in November, according to a joint statement. "The launch of Xbox One [in China] will bring distinction as the first-ever games console with internet TV functionality in China," said Zhang Dazhong, senior vice president of Shanghai Media Group, which owns BesTV. "The launch of Xbox is a milestone for our company in the family entertainment market and will create profit growth opportunities."
Pricing details for China will be announced at a later date, the companies said. Besides launching in China in September, Xbox One will then also be available in 42 markets including Singapore, India, Japan, and Korea.
Microsoft and BesTV last September established a joint venture with an expected investment of US$237 million to provide family games and related services. BesTV, which holds a 51 percent stake in the venture, has 18 million IPTV subscribers in China, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe.