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Tencent Gets Approval to Sell Nintendo Switch in China

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Government approved release of Switch with trial version of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe game

The Reuters news agency and The Wallstreet Journal newspaper reported on Thursday that China's Tencent conglomerate has earned key approval to begin selling the Nintendo Switch console in China. The Chinese province of Guangdong, where Tencent is registered, gave approval to the company on Thursday to release the Switch with a test version of the New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe game.

Market analyst Gu Tianyi said that releasing the Switch in China is a "massive opportunity" for Nintendo and Tencent. He said, "What sets Nintendo apart, however, it that its intellectual property roster - including Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon - is already extremely popular in the market. What's more, the mobile aspect of the Switch is a great fit for China's mobile-first culture.”

Tencent released its Arena of valor game for the Nintendo Switch outside China in September. The game launched for iOS and Android devices in the West in 2017.

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism oversees game hardware in China, and the country's State Administration of Press and Publication must approve games. Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism's announcement on Thursday that revealed its approval of the Switch also listed more than 100 other game devices.

Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism's announcement said that the Switch must be sold with a test version of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. Trial versions typically launch for free and do not require licenses.

Nintendo stated in its second-quarter financial results presentation in March that "discussions continue, but there are various issues" regarding the Chinese market.

Nintendo's late former president Satoru Iwata said in 2014 that the company was exploring options for entering the Chinese market. He said at that time that his company would develop completely new game machines for emerging markets, instead of offering cheaper versions of existing systems. China had recently lifted a 13-year ban on selling game consoles.

Nintendo previously released systems such as the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo 3DS XL in China under the iQue brand.

The Nintendo Switch console launched worldwide on March 3, 2017. Nintendo reported in January that the Nintendo Switch has sold 32.27 million units worldwide as of December 31.

Sources: Reuters (Pei Li, Sam Nussey), The Wallstreet Journal (Takashi Mochizuki, Shan Li), Variety (Patrick Frater), 4Gamer (Nobu)

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