Microsoft has changed their sales strategy for distribution of Windows 8 in China, discarding the traditional boxed product in favor of online sales and pre-installation on OEM devices.

In the past, Microsoft offered the option of purchasing a boxed copy of Windows to users who wish to upgrade or install the system on a new computer. However starting with Windows 8 it will only be possible to obtain Windows via purchase of a serial code online or an OEM device with Windows preinstalled.

Senior Vice President Xu Le Meng of Cernet, one Microsoft’s partners in the education market, revealed that Microsoft would definitely not be providing boxed versions of Windows 8 for the Chinese market, but would still provide them in the United States.

Industry insiders have pointed out that 98% of the genuine copies of Windows sold in China were preinstalled versions, showing just how small the market for boxed copies really is. Electronic purchases and OEM pre-installations are also an effective way for Microsoft to control piracy in the area.

Microsoft China announced earlier that Chinese users can upgrade their systems from previous versions of Windows to Windows 8 for 248 Yuan (around $40 USD), but have yet to officially announce other details regarding Windows 8’s retail price.