Jurisdiction - China
China – 14-year Ban On Sale Of Video Games Consoles Lifts, But Games Will Need Chinese Cultural Department Approval.

28 April, 2014


China has fully lifted its 14-year ban on selling video games consoles, in a move which will allow overseas companies to sell the gaming technology in China, Reuters has reported.

“Foreign-invested enterprises” which are registered in the recently established Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) will be able to manufacture and sell consoles in China indefinitely following the announcement, which follows a temporary lifting of the ban in January this year Reuters said.


However console games will have to be approved by Shanghai’s local government culture department, to ensure they do not harm China’s reputation, national unity or territorial integrity, or promote obscenity, gambling, violence, drugs or racial hatred, Reuters said.


To date, PC gaming has dominated the Chinese market, accounting for two thirds of the $13 billion market, said the BBC.


China banned games consoles in 2000, citing their “adverse” effect on the mental health of young people, according to the BBC. It suspended the ban in January this year and at the time said that it would allow foreign firms to make consoles within the FTZ and sell them in China after inspection by cultural departments.


The absence of consoles in the Chinese market has left PC games with almost two-thirds of the gaming market, according to data released at the annual China games industry conference in December, Reuters said. Browser gaming accounted for just over 15% and mobile gaming accounted for almost 14%, the data found.


The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) was launched in September last year, as part of a programme of economic reforms announced by China. The zone offers foreign investors a more relaxed commercial environment and allows the Renminbi (yuan) to be swapped freely for other currencies.


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