China paving the way for big Xbox One sales

China has approved the sale of 5 million Xbox One units, opening the way for Microsoft to make a big splash in the country’s emerging console sector.

Microsoft’s Chinese partner BesTV revealed the figure in a Tuesday earnings statement. The Chinese version of the Xbox One goes on in China on Sept. 23, after the country ended a 13-year-old ban on the import of foreign game consoles.

Although China often censors gaming content to weed out excessive violence, the approval of 5 million Xbox One units signals that the country’s government is still giving ample room for actual device sales.

BesTV, a provider of Internet television services, is confident the Xbox One will rake in big profits over time. The industry is projecting that China’s console gaming market has the potential to sell over 50 million units over the next five years, the company said.

The Xbox One first launched in western markets last November, with total shipments reaching 5 million units in April.

Chinese gamers have been looking forward to launch of the local version. But last month Microsoft revealed that the Chinese version of the Xbox One will cost consumers 3,699 yuan (US$600), $200 more than the U.S. version.

Despite the price, some local gaming merchants and experts believe the Xbox One will still attract customers. Microsoft and BesTV are bringing aboard local vendors and developers to create games and sell the system across the country.

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