JD.com (or JD), China’s leading e-commerce site increasingly known for its efforts in backing up hardware startups, announced this morning that it has attained the exclusive right to take pre-orders for Microsoft’s video game console Xbox One in China.
Instead of accepting orders on its website, JD announced in the press release that it will first take Xbox One pre-orders via WeChat and Mobile QQ, two social networking services offered by Tencent Holdings, the second-largest shareholder of JD. WeChat and Mobile QQ users can place orders for Xbox with a deposit of 499 yuan (US$81) to JD, three days before the company begins taking pre-orders from other Chinese consumers on its website and mobile app on July 31. But the specific price for this product is still unknown.
After selling a 15 percent stake to Tencent this March, JD started its cooperation with the Internet giant by integrating its services onto WeChat and Mobile QQ to capitalize on Tencent’s gigantic user base, as well as to invigorate the online shopping business of the latter. Tencent also announced that its e-commerce properties, including marketplaces Paipai (C2C) and QQ Wanggou (B2C), will be transferred to JD.
Chinese game console industry is heating up after the State Council lifted the 13-year ban on this sector imposed in 2000. To tap this nascent market in China, Microsoft teamed up with Shanghai-based media service BesTV New Media (SH: 600637) last year to set up a joint venture dedicated to this business. The joint venture released Xbox One in Chinese market April this year.
In May 2014, Japanese giant Sony also set up a joint venture with Chinese company Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to introduce its game console PS4 to Chinese market. Domestic companies like Huawei and ZTE also rolled out products to tap this market.
image credit: JD