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Microsoft and Sony stepping up China plans

Xbox reportedly launching soon, new PlayStation business unit established

Microsoft and Sony appear keen to make inroads in China following the nation's decision to lift a long-running ban on the sale of foreign game consoles.

January's suspension of the ban will enable companies such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to manufacture game consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone and sell their products across the country, pending government approval

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Microsoft global vice president Zhang Yaqin said during an IT summit over the weekend that the company expects to launch Xbox in China soon, according to domestic news portal qq.com (via Global Times).

Meanwhile, Sony's Japanese arm announced this week that it has opened a new China Strategy Department in the Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia division. According to Gamasutra, the unit will be led by Takehito Soeda, who has previously served as Sony's corporate communications manager in China.

Chinese government ministries originally decided to ban consoles in 2000 due to fears about the perceived corrupting impact games were having on young people, leading to an increase in popularity of PC gaming in internet cafes. Despite the ban, consoles have remained available in China through unofficial channels, although most game players currently enjoy the pastime on PCs and smartphones.

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