Microsoft has confirmed plans to launch its Xbox game console in Hong Kong and said that it would also market the device in Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Mexico. Taiwan may prove to be a linchpin in the Greater China region as Microsoft has announced plans to work with games developers there on Chinese-language games to be launched next year. In a statement from Microsoft's Seattle office this week, John O'Rourke, director of worldwide Xbox marketing, said: 'We're moving into new territories faster than any other gaming platform in history, highlighting our global commitment and investment for the future of Xbox around the world. 'These six territories were selected because of the high interest in intense Xbox games and because many of them are hotbeds for online gaming.' The announcement follows a report by the South China Morning Post last week on Microsoft's intention to bring the Xbox to Hong Kong. The announcement includes no mention of mainland China and Microsoft spokeswoman Anne Costello, of the AugustOne public relations firm, said there were no plans for that market at the moment. 'China basically is a potential market but it's quite an immature market,' she said. Ms Costello refused to confirm the price or launch date for Hong Kong. However, sources involved with the launch said last week that Microsoft was aiming to roll-out the Xbox across parts of Asia in September in order to maximise pre-Christmas sales. Microsoft claims to have more than doubled monthly Xbox sales since dropping the unit's price about two months ago to US$200 to compete with consoles from Nintendo and Sony. In reporting its earnings for the quarter ended June 30 last week, the company said it had sold 3.9 million consoles and 20 million game packages. On the hardware side, Microsoft has a long way to go before catching up to the Sony Playstation's installed base of 30 million consoles, and the number sold falls far short of projections of nearly seven million by the middle of this year. Project Gotham Racing, Dead or Alive 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved have been the most popular Xbox games. The Xbox was introduced in the United States in November, followed by launches in Europe, Japan and Australia. The product is reported to have been struggling since its introduction in Japan, when many consoles were returned because of manufacturing defects. The announcement of new markets comes as Microsoft readies its online game-play service, for which it is turning to Level 3 for Internet access. Called Xbox Live, the service is planned for launch this autumn in the US with a subscription costing US$49 a year. In the Hong Kong and mainland market, the Xbox is available as a grey-market import. Persistent software piracy has been blamed by the company for its reluctance to distribute the Xbox in the region, as it loses money on the hardware and hopes to recoup income from royalties on games. Sony's Playstation 2 (PS2) became officially available in Hong Kong only this year, while a grey-market version has been selling for much longer. The PS2 is far more popular in Hong Kong and Microsoft plans a marketing blitz to turn the tables within two years, according to industry sources. There is no word yet on when the Xbox Live online game-play service will be available in Asia, though comments by Microsoft executives in the US indicate that there are plans to bring the service to strong broadband markets such as Korea. Microsoft manufactures its Xbox hardware through contractor Flextronics, which has started shifting production from Hungary to the mainland. Microsoft is also reported to be considering moving manufacturing to Taiwan. Microsoft's recent forays into games and consumer goods could be years from really paying off, but the company still dominates its more traditional lines of business. Consumer software, services and devices accounted for US$509 million in sales for Microsoft last quarter, compared with US$4.55 billion from desktop software and US$1.29 billion from enterprise software and services.