Tencent wins key approval to sell Nintendo's Switch in China

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BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s Tencent has won a key approval to start selling the Nintendo Switch in the country, paving the way for the console to enter the world’s largest video games market two years after it was first released worldwide.

FILE PHOTO: A Tencent sign is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, Dec. 4, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong gave the green light on Thursday to Tencent Holdings to distribute the Nintendo Switch console with a test version of the “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” game, a statement on the government’s website showed.

The need to navigate complex regulations and the search for a local partner have hampered Japanese gaming company Nintendo’s efforts to bring its hybrid home-portable Switch console to China, holding back the development of console gaming there.

“Launching the Nintendo Switch in China is a massive opportunity for both Nintendo and Tencent,” said Gu Tianyi, market analyst with gaming industry analytics firm Newzoo, adding that other consoles, PlayStation and Xbox, have struggled to catch on in China.

“What sets Nintendo apart, however, it that its intellectual property roster – including Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon