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China to allow game console sales through free-trade zone

Published on Jan 8, 2014 1:39 PM

SHANGHAI (AFP) - China has formally authorised game consoles made in a new Shanghai free-trade zone to be sold in the country, potentially opening its lucrative market up to the likes of Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's XBox.

The move effectively lifts a decade-long ban on domestic console sales - although imports remain officially blocked, while illicit machines are already widely available.

Foreign firms will be allowed to make machines in the free-trade zone (FTZ) and sell the equipment into the domestic market after passing inspection by cultural authorities, China's State Council, or cabinet, said in a statement dated Dec 21 but publicly released this week.

The State Council has "temporarily" suspended a regulation introduced in June 2000 on the grounds that, the government said at the time, games had an adverse effect on the mental health of young people.

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