Sony to Nintendo Mull China’s Console Market as Ban Lifted

China lifted a 13-year ban on gaming consoles and will draft rules allowing the machines to be made in the new Shanghai free-trade zone, potentially opening the door for Sony Corp. to Nintendo Co. to enter the market.

China’s ruling State Council temporarily suspended the ban while new rules are drafted, the council said in a statement posted to its website yesterday.

“China mainland is an attractive market,” said Satoshi Nakajima, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Sony’s game unit, which sold 2.1 million of its PlayStation 4 units as of early December since it went on sale Nov. 15. “We will seek to expand when there is an opportunity.”

Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo is studying what it can do in the Shanghai free-trade zone, according to Yasuhiro Minagawa, a company spokesman. He declined to elaborate.

Consoles such as Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s PS were banned under a 2000 rule to protect youths from the perceived corrupting influence of video games. China had announced last year that the ban would be lifted within the Shanghai free-trade zone, which opened in September.

Microsoft and BesTV New Media Co., a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, in September said they formed a $79 million gaming venture to take advantage of the new rules.

BesTV shares today rose 8.4 percent to close at 40.28 yuan, the biggest gain since Sept. 30.

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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