Sony and Nintendo shares up as China considers lifting ban on PlayStation and Wii
China is considering lifting a 13-year ban on video games consoles, according to state media, causing shares in Sony and Nintendo to surge.
The Chinese government imposed the ban in 2000 to safeguard children's mental and physical development.
In November, Sony's PlayStation 3 received a quality certification from a Chinese safety standards body, prompting speculation of a change in law from Beijing.
"We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market," the official China Daily quoted an unnamed source from the Ministry of Culture as saying.
"However, since the ban was issued by seven ministries more than a decade ago, we will need approval from all parties to lift it."
An official at the ministry's cultural market department, which is responsible for the legislation, denied the report.
"The ministry is not considering lifting the ban," the official, who identified himself only as Bai, told Reuters.
In Tokyo, Sony Corp shares traded 8 per cent higher while Nintendo Co Ltd gained over 3.5 per cent, outperforming a broadly weaker Nikkei index.
Yoshiko Uchiyama, a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment, a unit of Sony, said she could not comment directly on the report.
"Our stance towards business in China has not changed. Of course, we acknowledge China as a promising market for our business, and we are always considering and preparing business opportunities and possibilities (in the country)," she said.
A Nintendo spokesman declined to comment.
Earlier moves suggest Chinese authorities are ready to take a softer line on game consoles.
Last year, Lenovo Group Ltd launched the Eedoo CT510, a motion sensing device similar in concept to Microsoft Corp's Kinect extension for its Xbox game console. Lenovo marketed the Eedoo as an "exercise and entertainment machine".
Video game consoles are banned in China, but online gaming and playing games on mobile devices are both extremely common, which analysts say limits the potential upside for Sony and rival game machine makers.