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It’s game on in China, as Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Xbox One becomes the first entertainment console to hit the market after the end of a 13-year ban.
Microsoft today began taking orders for its new game console from online retailer JD.com Inc. (JD) via Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s (700) mobile-messaging applications. The pair of Chinese Internet companies hold exclusive rights to pre-sell the locally made Xbox One until July 30, JD.com said in a news release. The console is slated to ship nationwide in September.
Microsoft was the industry’s first big player to start production in the country after the Chinese government last year allowed console sales in the new Shanghai free-trade zone and opened up an estimated $10 billion market. The first Xbox didn’t even exist in 2000, when the Communist Party banned game systems over concern they would be bad for kids. It was released a year later.
“The potential market for Xbox in China is huge, there’s a lot of prospects for growth,” said Bill Fan, a Hong Kong-based analyst at China Securities Co. “Tencent could cooperate with Microsoft on games in the future, and Xbox can utilize Tencent and JD.com’s distribution channels to generate more sales.”
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