Microsoft Probed in China as XBox One Launch Looms

12:11 AM PST 07/29/2014 by Abid Rahman
XBox One launches in China in September

The software giant is believed to be the target of an antitrust investigation as it prepares to bring its latest video game console to the country.

Microsoft has run into trouble with the Chinese government after the company's offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu were raided by authorities, the South China Morning Post reported Monday. 

Citing Sina News portal sources close to the matter, the SCMP reports that the investigation is likely concerned with anti-trust behavior. 

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce is behind the investigation and made unannounced visits to Microsoft's four biggest offices in China, although it is still unclear what investigators were looking for or if anything was taken away. In email correspondence with the SCMP, Microsoft China spokesperson, Joan Li, confirmed that the company was under investigation and said that it would "actively cooperate" with the government. 

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The investigation comes at a bad time for Microsoft, as the company is gearing up to launch its next-generation console the XBox One in China. In April, the company announced a landmark agreement with Shanghai-based set-top box maker BesTV to manufacture the XBox One in China.

Following the Chinese government's decision to drop the 13-year ban on console sales in the country, Microsoft has done well to stoke enthusiasm for its flagship video game console with well-received investments in Shanghai's free trade zone and high-profile visits by key executives. Yesterday, Chinese Internet retailing giant JD.com announced it had reached an agreement with Microsoft for exclusive advanced sales of the XBox One through Tencent's WeChat mobile platform until July 30, although the consoles will not be shipped till September. 

The Xbox One was launched in rest of the world in November 2013, but sales have so far lagged behind Sony's next-gen machine, the PlayStation 4.  

Twitter: @gentlemanabroad

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