Chinese consumers can now preorder Microsoft's Xbox One.
Sold through mobile carrier China Telecom, the units are available for preorder starting July 28 through JD.com, China's second-largest e-commerce company based on market share, according to Reuters. The preorders will run to July 30 and will also be taken through the mobile social networks Mobile QQ and WeChat. Both of those networks are owned by Tencent Holdings, which has a 17.6 percent stake in JD.com.
The Xbox One itself is scheduled to, a deal that opens the door to millions of potential new customers for Microsoft. China had previously banned sales of foreign-made game consoles, claiming that the devices caused mental harm to children. With the , Microsoft and other manufacturers can now tap into a country where some of their products instead have a nasty habit of reaching customers via the black market. The deal with China Telecom gives Microsoft access to 104 million broadband subscribers.
The specific launch date and price of the console have yet to be determined, a spokesman for China Telecom told Reuters. In the US, the Xbox One with Kinect retails for $500. But a picture leaked last week by Chinese website WPDang shows the price of the console in China at 3,499 Chinese Yuan or RMB ($565). That price includes the tax, according to WPCentral, and throws in three games and a couple of coupons.
The Xbox One will be the first gaming console to sell in China since the lifting of the ban. Microsoft has teamed up with Chinese Internet TV set-top box maker BesTV New Media to build the consoles in Shanghai's Free Trade Zone.