China lifts block on foreign consoles

China lifts ban on Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony selling consoles

China has lifted the ban on foreign consoles, effectively opening up its gigantic consumer base for Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony

China has lifted the ban on foreign companies selling consoles that has been in place for more than a decade.

According to Reuters, China's State Council will temporarily allow "foreign-invested enterprises", such as Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, to sell their products across the country, and manufacture their consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone. Sale of these products is, however, contingent on government approval.

While none of the 'big three' console producing companies have announced plans to establish manufacturing plants in the free trade zone, the announcement is likely to prompt a lot of interest. China is a vast and officially untapped market for console makers and Sony and Microsoft's next-gen consoles are selling millions of units having only just been launched in the West.

China originally banned foreign companies from selling consoles within its borders in 2,000, citing concerns they had a negative effect on the mental health of young people. In spite of this, consoles have been sold in China on the Grey market, although PCs and smartphones are currently the dominant gaming platforms in that country.