Sony Corp. has apparently set the wheels in motion to introduce its PlayStation platforms in mainland China at some point in the future. The console and electronics giant will join Nintendo and Microsoft in entering a challenging but potentially lucrative new market of some 1.3 billion consumers following China lifting its ban on video games last year.
According to a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Sony will team up with the state-owned Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to form two ventures for the purpose of producing and selling PlayStation hardware and software in China. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Shanghai is expected to specialize in software development to conform with the Chinese government's stringent content regulations, while Shanghai Oriental Pearl Sony Computer Entertainment Culture Development (no, it doesn't make a quirky acronym) will handle console manufacturing and sales. The stock exchange filing reveals how Sony will own a 70 percent stake in the former and 49 percent in the latter.
Shanghai will serve as the launchpad for all console hardware to be released in China as a result of the free-trade zone established in the city last September. Naturally the free-trade zone was designed to attract foreign investment into Shanghai, including console makers.
Sony has yet to make any of this official, so it's not a sure bet that the PlayStation 4 and Vita (as we know them) will actually be released in China. It's possible the company will release redesigned versions of the hardware to suit the "emergent" market, as Nintendo appears to be doing. Microsoft meanwhile has similiarly forged a local partnership with the intent of introducing Xbox (perhaps even the Xbox One) to China this year.