Nintendo is partnering with Tencent to sell Switches in China.
The Nintendo Switch came out in 2017 and since then has sold 32 million units worldwide. Nintendo has conquered the globe with the Switch, all but for one Asiatic nation: China.
Selling something in China is complicated. You can’t just barge in and set up shop: everything that comes from outside the country must be first made inside the country and then sold via a Chinese partner. Most of the Switch’s parts are already made in China, so that’s easy enough to fix, but getting a Chinese company to partner with is a long legal dance fraught with bureaucratic peril.
But it looks like Nintendo has found that partner in Tencent. According to Reuters, Chinese authorities have provided approval for Nintendo and Tencent to start selling the Switch nationwide bundled with a test copy of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
Tencent is a logical fit for Nintendo--it’s the largest game publisher in China, and Nintendo has already worked with Tencent to sell their MOBA, Arena of Valor, on the Switch.
This could also mean big things for Nintendo. China is the world’s largest gaming market with most gamers preferring mobile devices--like the Switch--to home consoles or personal computers. On top of that, analysts told Reuters that Nintendo IP like Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon are already hugely popular within the country, so the Switch is expected to be a hot commodity.
However, there are still problems. The approval was only for the Switch and not Nintendo’s library of games--that has to be approved by another department. And there’s a long backlog of approvals waiting ahead of Nintendo after the Chinese government froze all game approvals while they figured out what to do about all the kids and their gaming.
Approvals are underway once more, but it might be some time before Nintendo can sell their games in China.