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| June 24, 2017

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China to End 13 Year Ban on Consoles

China to End 13 Year Ban on Consoles
Charles Chong

If you didn’t know, well, now you do: China currently has had a ban on console systems – for the past 13 years.  This ban was created in order “to keep underage folk away from dangerous venues and unhealthy content”.  Ironically enough, the same consoles that were banned from Chinese citizens are actually manufactured in China only to be exported to other countries afterwards.  Fortunately, despite the ban, consoles could still be purchased through an open gray market, where consoles are displayed publicly.


Lifting the ban comes in light of new initiatives from Premier Li, who wishes to open China to foreign investments and businesses.  The Shanghai Free Trade Zone plan will thus allow consoles to be purchased legally in China under one condition: Console makers much manufacture these consoles in Shanghai, which will present a couple of challenges.  One of these challenges points to the high cost of living in Shanghai, which means it will cost much more to manufacture all of these consoles.  Another challenge stems from the fact that only those consoles to be sold in China must specifically only be made in Shanghai – meaning the current existing factories elsewhere in China cannot contribute to providing the consoles to the Chinese masses.  Essentially, new factories must be constructed in order to penetrate this new, massive market.

While it is still too early to tell if the price of these consoles sold in China will be more expensive than their international counterparts, what is clear is the millions upon millions to be made by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo if the ban were to be lifted.  And it’s just in time for the next generation of consoles, too.