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Redmond plants flag in Chinese game dev market

Joint venture with new media darling BesTV could spell end for console ban

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It seems that the rumoured relaxation of China's prohibition of foreign games consoles is inching closer to reality, with IPTV outfit BesTV joining with Microsoft to play some games.

According to an announcement posted on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, BesTV New Media said the new venture, E-Home Entertainment Development, will be 49 percent owned by Redmond and 51 percent owned by BesTV, and will be charged with working on “games and related services” in China.

BesTV was set up by Shanghai Media Group in 2005 and floated in January 2012, calling itself the first “new media” stock to list in China. Six months later, it pumped $US30 million into video streaming outfit Funshion, which dovetailed with its own 18-million-subscriber IPTV business.

E-Home Entertainment Development is a venture of a completely different scale, however, with Xinhua reporting the two partners intend to invest a total of $US237 million in the new operation. BesTV will appoint the chairman to the joint venture, while Microsoft will appoint the CEO.

According to the Seattle Times, “Microsoft is working with BesTV, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), to explore new opportunities in Shanghai and China. We believe there is great market potential and partnership opportunities here and look forward to sharing more details soon.”

Earlier in September, the South China Morning Post reported the looser rules would be contingent on makers' willingness to build the China versions of their console in the proposed Shanghai free trade zone. ®

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