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Sony Forms Ventures to sell PlayStation in China after End of Ban on Foreign Consoles

by Caroline Vutagwa
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Sony has agreed to form two ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl to start making and selling PlayStation consoles after China lifted a 13-year ban on sales of the machines. It will have a 70 percent stake in one venture and 49 percent in the other, according to a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Sony rose the most in almost two months yesterday

PS4

The opening of the huge Chinese market could be a major boost for Sony’s video game business, its chief executive said yesterday, as the firm looks to cast off years of losses.

“The Chinese market, just given the size of it, is obviously potentially a very large market for videogame products,” Kazuo Hirai told reporters at Sony’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai

“I think that we will be able to replicate the kind of success we have had with PS4 in other parts of the world in (China).”Generating localized games would be key to success in the vast market, he added.”Initially, we will start with non-Chinese games; that’s fine because that’s all we have,” Hirai said.

“But (longer term) it’s about getting involved in the local content creation market, which I think is very important for real success in the Chinese market.” Sony will take a 49 per cent stake in one venture and a majority 70 per cent in the other, the statement said, to make and market PlayStation consoles and related software in China.

The relaxation of the decade-long sales ban does not apply to console imports, though the devices are already widely available through unofficial sales channels after being smuggled into China.

China’s game revenue jumped 38 per cent year-over-year to 83.2 billion yuan in 2013, according to one industry estimate, although the market was dominated by online computer games.

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