The Chinese video game market has been considered to be something of a potential gold mine for a while now; there's a huge audience of gaming fans residing in the country and, as of yet, no major console manufacturer has really asserted any kind of dominance there.
As Nintendo has explained in the past, though, breaking into this market is challenging; console gaming hasn't made the same impact as smartphone and PC-based games in the region, and it was only a few years ago that a ban on dedicated game consoles was still very much intact - a ban which lasted 14 years. Despite this, it would now appear that the house of Mario has made some positive steps towards getting its foot in the door.
A report from The Wall Street Journal says that Nintendo has now submitted an official request to the Chinese government to sell the Nintendo Switch in the country. Seemingly a key part of this request is a partnership with Tencent Holdings, one of China's biggest tech companies which just so happens to already operate a gaming business. Essentially, Tencent would act as a distributor, with the Chinese government potentially feeling more secure with an already-familiar company being involved.
Things get even more interesting, though. Twitter account, @chinesenintendo, appears to have found documents suggesting that the Switch has already been approved for sale by the Department of Culture of Guangdong Province.
This is an unofficial account, and the information presented hasn't been confirmed by other sources, but @chinesenintendo goes on to say that the system was approved for distribution in the week of 5th - 13th March, a "time frame when console and game developers could submit their products in for approval".
The deal seems to include not only the console, but also a version of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
We'll make sure to keep an eye on this story as it develops further, but this could be a pretty major deal for Nintendo going forward. Nintendo president, Shuntaro Furukawa, has previously expressed his desires to truly make the company's IP available in the country and it would seem that this goal is now within grasp.