Microsoft is set to be the first company to launch a foreign console in China since the country lifted its 14-year ban on them back in January. Microsoft and BesTV announced a September 23 launch for the Xbox One today, with the system available at a starting price of ¥3,699 RMB, converting to just under $600.

There's no clear-cut list of launch games as yet, but Microsoft said it expects the day one offering to include Forza 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Powerstar Golf, Zoo Tycoon and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood "among others." Perfect World's Neverwinter Online is also due to be available at launch, and it will stay exclusive to Xbox One for its first six months. The MMO publisher is also developing Celestial Sword and Project X for Microsoft's system.

Microsoft may be the first to bring its console through the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, but both Sony and Nintendo have sounded out on entering the Chinese market. Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata said his company is planning to bring new hardware to emerging markets like China next year, while Sony already has agreements in place to bring PlayStation products to the country, although the finer details on that remain unannounced.

Curiously, today's news comes just days after reports the Chinese government is probing Microsoft to discern if the company broke anti-monopoly laws. According to the Wall Street Journal, on Monday, July 28, investigators raided Microsoft offices in four cities across the country. In response, the company said it complies with laws and regulations in all global markets, and that its practices are designed to comply with Chinese law.

As WSJ noted, the raids follow growing friction between China and the US, most recently following accusations over US "unscrupulous" surveillance and the arrest of a Chinese businessman charged with hacking systems tied to the American military.
[Image: Microsoft]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.