China’s State Council announced the decision in a statement issued Friday, saying foreign companies will be able to sell consoles across the entire country as long as they have established production and sales operations in the free trade zone. Each console will also have to be approved by China’s Ministry of Culture before going on the market.
China banned consoles in 2000 over fears that video games may have a detrimental effect on the mental and physical development of children. Reports earlier this year suggested that Beijing was considering relaxing its policy, though officials later disputed such claims. Consoles have been available on the black market in China, though most gamers use PCs or mobile devices.
Today’s announcement follows earlier reports that China may be relaxing its longstanding bans on Facebook and Twitter within the forthcoming free zone. The People’s Daily, a state-run newspaper, later refuted the reports, saying current “internet management measures” will remain in place in Shanghai.
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