Microsoft's Chinese partner confident Xbox can compete against Android consoles

China recently ended its foreign-made videogame console ban, opening the door for Microsoft to sell its Xbox

More low-end Android gaming consoles are coming to China. But Microsoft's local partner isn't worried, and expects the Xbox to sell well as a high-end gaming product.

China recently ended its ban on foreign-made videogame consoles, clearing the way for Microsoft to sell its Xbox in the country.

Last September, BesTV established a joint venture with Microsoft meant to focus on gaming and entertainment. Since then, both companies have been working to localize the Xbox product for the China, BesTV said in a stock exchange filing on Tuesday.

"We believe that future profitability will be great," the company wrote.

BesTV, a local provider of Internet television services, is up against vendors of lower-end Android set-top boxes that can play games. But in the stock exchange filing, BesTV said it wanted to take a page from Apple, and position the Xbox as a higher-end product that mainstream consumers aspire for.

"The scale of our sales could be higher than those of knock-off and lower-end set-top boxes," the company added.

BesTV plans to announce more details about its Xbox strategy later this month, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Last year, China ended its 13-year-old ban on the import of foreign-made videogame consoles.

But in recent months, local Chinese companies such as Huawei, ZTE, TCL have developed lower-end Android set-top boxes that can play games. In ZTE's case, the company's Fun Box is priced at 689 yuan (US$112), and it is aiming at device sales of at least 3 million units this year.

The low price could give Android consoles a leg up when trying to sell against traditional gaming systems such as Xbox One that can start at $499.

BesTV's spokeswoman declined to offer more details on the Xbox's launch date and its price in China. But the company, along with Microsoft, has been investing in creating gaming content. In the future, upcoming titles might revolve around Chinese culture, such as the martial art, T'ai chi.

Microsoft did not immediately comment.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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