Xbox 360 delivered to China in 2K6?

Microsoft rep hopes next-generation console will spur growth in world's seventh-largest economy.

Chinese astrologists and centuries of history be damned. If Microsoft has its way, 2006 won't be The Year of the Dog in China; it will be The Year of the Xbox 360.

Tim Chen, Greater China chief executive for Microsoft, is targeting next year for the regional launch of the next-generation console in China, according to a report from Reuters. The move is vital for Microsoft if it aims to crack the world's fastest-growing gaming market.

The Xbox 360 will make its global debut in North America on November 22, with launches in Europe and Japan to follow shortly after. Although China will be among the last regions to receive the Xbox 360, technically it's the first to get its hands on it. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced three contractor manufacturers that would assemble the consoles: Celestica, Flextronics, and Wistron. The 360s will be assembled in the companies' manufacturing plants based in Southern China.

The 360 is expected to help further increase Microsoft's performance in the world's most populace country.

"Sales-wise, we're improving," Chen told Reuters. "We had over 30 percent growth in our last fiscal year. This year, hopefully, we can maintain similar growth."

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