Microsoft’s Xbox One will be the first mainstream video games console to go on sale in China since such devices were banned in 2000.

The American company will work alongside home entertainment partner BesTV who will be operating under the relatively relaxed rules of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone – one of several 'special economic zones' in the country with greater economic freedom.

Microsoft says that there are half a billion gamers in China and as of 2013, the country’s gaming industry has generated more than $13 billion revenue from PCs, mobile and online gaming.

"Why did we choose Microsoft as our business partner?" said Mr Zhang Dazhong, senior vice president of the Shanghai Media Group, owner of BesTV. "Because Microsoft has created the most amazing family friendly entertainment product in the world."

China’s ban against foreign consoles was lifted earlier this year, and had originally been instated for various reasons including “threatening state security, damaging the nation's glory, disturbing social order and infringing on others' legitimate rights.”


Technology site The Verge has noted that although China does technically have some video game consoles on sale (as well as a brief stint when the PS2 was available), these do not typically fit the Western image of a concole.

One, Huawei’s Tron console, runs on Android using low-power chips that might as easily be found in high-end mobile devices. Another, the Eedoo CT510 from Lenovo, was essentially a standalone device similar to Microsoft’s Kinect add-on and offered a severely limited games library.