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Games console maker Ouya exploring the Chinese market

Android console maker Ouya is considering entering the Chinese market as part of its expansion into Asia.

China recently ended a 14-year-old ban on foreign-made game consoles, opening the door for companies to tap the market, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said Monday.

“When we enter a new market we want to do it the right way with the right partners,” she added in an interview.

The San Francisco company is best known for its US$99 Android gaming system, and last year raised over US$8.5 million on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. A few of those early backers came from China, Uhrman said, while attending the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing.

“If this (China) becomes an important part of our growth strategy, we will definitely build a team out here,” she added.

If Ouya decides to sell in China, it will not be the only company selling an inexpensive Android console in China. Local companies including Huawei, TCL and ZTE are releasing their own Android-based set-top boxes. In ZTE’s case, the company’s Fun Box is priced at 689 yuan ($112), and can play over 200 Android games.

It’s no surprise other Android consoles are popping up, given that the hardware is easy to develop, Uhrman said. “Building the hardware is the easy part, it’s building the community that’s hard,” she said.

The company is not only focused on bringing more developers on board, but also on creating Android games optimized for the television screen, and attracting exclusive titles to its platform. The Ouya console so far has 800 games.

Ouya currently distributes its console to the U.S., Canada, U.K. and the Middle East. Later this year, the company will release the next generation of its Android console.

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