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Sony PlayStation Follows Microsoft Into China

The Chinese government has lifted a ban in place since 2000.

Sony Computer Entertainment said it will sell its PlayStation game console in China in the wake of the government’s decision to lift its ban on imported video game consoles.

The announcement comes a month after Microsoft announced that its Xbox One would debut in the market this fall.

Sony said it it has reached an agreement with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Culture Development Ltd. to form a pair of joint ventures to be based in Shanghai. One company, Sony Computer Entertainment (Shanghai) Ltd., will oversee producing and selling hardware, and the other, Oriental Pearl Culture Development SUOLE Ltd, will handle software licensing and sales.

The company would not say which version of the PlayStation console or what software it plans to make available in China.

The Chinese government had imposed a ban on imported game consoles in 2000, citing the harmful impact of gaming on young players. Earlier this year, it temporarily lifted the prohibition — though the game systems must be manufactured in Shanghai’s free trade zone and are subject to inspection by China’s cultural departments.

China represents a sizable market for the console maker with nearly half a billion players and revenues approaching $14 billion. At the moment, the market is dominated by PCs and mobile games with console games accounting for just a fraction of spending.

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