Sony forms ventures to sell PlayStation in China

Tokyo – Sony has taken steps toward selling PlayStation gaming consoles in China as chief executive Kazuo Hirai seeks to tap players in the world’s biggest market and rebound from a projected sixth loss in seven years.

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Sony has agreed to form two ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl to start producing and selling PlayStation consoles after China lifted a 13-year ban on sales of the cars.

Sony moved up 3.1 percent to close at ¥1 683 (R170) in Tokyo trading. The shares are down 7.8 percent this year, compared with the 8.3 percent drop on the benchmark Topix index.

In September last year, Shanghai inaugurated a free-trade zone with more relaxed financial and investment controls as Beijing seeks to unleash market forces in the second-largest economy. That is helping attract companies from console makers to banks.

State-owned Shanghai Oriental Pearl is involved in hotels, cable television, advertising and broadcasting on Shanghai subways. Board secretary Xu Xiaojun said the company could help Sony navigate the regulatory process to obtain licences. She said Shanghai Oriental Pearl was building its game business portfolio and had bought stakes in US and Japanese firms.

“This is a big market. We want to build a big culture and entertainment platform where we can utilise our traditional advantages in entertainment content.”

Last week Sony unexpectedly forecast a ¥50 billion net loss this year as slumping demand for its television sets and video cameras was compounded by the costs of restructuring and exiting the personal computer business.

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