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Nintendo and Tencent have joined forces in an attempt to bring the Switch to China, and the pair are making significant headway.
As reported by Reuters, Chinese tech giant Tencent recently received approval from regulator in the southern province of Guangdong to distribute the Switch and a test version of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe in the country.
The Chinese video game market is currently the largest and most lucrative in the world, making this a big victory for both companies. According to "people familiar with the matter," the Guangdong approval will eventually lead to the Switch being sold nationwide, although no timeframe for the rollout was given.
“Launching the Nintendo Switch in China is a massive opportunity for both Nintendo and Tencent,” said Newzoo analyst Gu Tianyi, explaining the significance of the news to Reuters.
“What sets Nintendo apart [from competitors like Sony and Microsoft] it that its intellectual property roster -- including Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon -- is already extremely popular in the market. What’s more, the mobile aspect of the Switch is a great fit for China’s mobile-first culture."
Nintendo's new partner Tencent was one of the companies affected by China's recent licensing freeze, which saw the new State Administration of Press and Publication halt approvals in an attempt to weed out games that didn’t abide by the government’s values.
The freeze prevented companies big and small from launching their games in China, and created a massive approvals backlog that regulators have only recently begun to wade through.
Fortunately for Tencent, test versions of games like New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe can be distributed without a license, meaning it can effectively skip the queue (for now).