Today, it was revealed via an announcement by the Guangdong Culture and Tourism Administration that Nintendo has been given provisional approval to sell the Nintendo Switch in China, partnered with Tencent. [Thanks, Bahamut!]
To be more specific, it was New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Nintendo Switch bundle that has been provisionally approved, and it seems that this is Nintendo’s method of enticing new buyers in this unfamiliar market.
To give some context, you may have noticed that Nintendo is asked at every investor’s meeting as to what their plans are regarding bringing the Nintendo Switch into China, but as a local partner is needed for foreign companies to enter the market in the first place, it’s been hard to do so. While some of the Switch’s changes have been made in order to appease the Chinese market, such as frequent Chinese localization, removing the region lock, the only way Mainland Chinese has been able to play the Switch is via imports from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
That said, while Tencent is backing Nintendo, they still have a tough uphill battle to fight, as China is mainly dominated by the PC and smartphone market that was established while consoles were banned. Next, there’s the question of software, which needs to individually be approved by China.
Previously, Nintendo partnered with Chinese company iQue in order to bring older consoles like the N64 over, but iQue has since turned to focusing on localization instead. More recently, we’ve also seen Nintendo games become part of the Nvidia Shield lineup as well.