Twitch is now blocked in China

Twitch is now blocked in China. The major game streaming site is largely no longer accessible and its app has been removed from Apple’s local App Store, after it saw a noticeable boost in popularity last month, as spotted by Abacus. Twitch confirmed it was blocked in China to The Verge today but didn’t elaborate on details.

Last month, Twitch hit the No. 3 spot among free apps in China, as locals began downloading the app to watch e-sports matches at the Asian Games. Mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower told The Verge that downloads for the app on the week of August 27th rose 23 times higher than the previous week, during the height of the competition. State-run broadcaster CCTV chose not to air the Asian Games, so users had to find alternative ways to watch the competition, especially as China performed well during the event and brought back two gold medals. Although the performance wasn’t streamed through the major broadcaster, China’s two wins were later covered by state-run media.

Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, has seen a big boost in viewership this past year, especially as Epic Games’ Fortnite has exploded in popularity and top streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has become a bonafide celebrity and the platform’s highest-earning and most-watched streamer. Twitch’s monthly active streamer count doubled in 2017 compared to 2016. But it didn’t have a lot of Chinese users, as its servers are based abroad, meaning that streams are delayed.

The latest censorship follows the Chinese government’s pattern of banning any Western media platform that seems to be growing in popularity, often as a cautionary measure before anything controversial has even occurred. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter remain permanently banned, and Google, which has stayed out of China for eight years, is rumored to be developing a censored search engine to be allowed back in.

Many on Weibo across China responded to the initial connection disruption reports on Monday with a kind of group tally, where they would report if they could connect to Twitch’s website in their specific province. While many citizens reported they could not, the site remained accessible yesterday for some in provinces spread throughout northern and southern China, meaning that the censorship wasn’t consistent nor geographically constrained. “Why can’t I connect in [the northeastern province of] Liaoning?” one user asked, while another said, “I’m still watching now in [the northeast city of] Changchun.”

The quick rise and fall of Twitch in China, which will likely soon become a tiny blip in the history of Chinese censorship of Western internet platforms, doesn’t bode well for game distribution service Steam and its ambitions in the East. Steam’s parent company Valve announced in June this year that it was partnering with Shanghai-based video game developer Perfect World to launch a Chinese version of Steam. Few details were given about what a curated version of Steam that would abide by local laws would look like. Valve promised The Verge to keep it updated, saying “more information, including launch details, will be made available soon,” back in June, but since then has not responded to multiple requests for follow-up.

Update September 20th 7:20PM ET: This article has been updated with confirmation from Twitch and statistics from Sensor Tower.

Comments

Why would anyone want to live in China

The majority of people are born there, so it’s as much a choice as most Americans make. It just is what it is.

For those who go there, it’s a chance to experience a culture that’s fundamentally different from the American homogeneity that pervades North America and much of Europe. Also, China gets some fantastically awesome phones and gadgets before anyone else. It’s the new Japan in terms of pushing the limits of hardware engineering.

China gets some fantastically awesome phones and gadgets before anyone else. It’s the new Japan in terms of pushing the limits of hardware engineering.

There is nothing fantastic nor awesome about Chinese phones, they come pre-loaded with spyware ready to be accessed any time by Chinese government spy agencies. These spy Chinese phones and telecom hardware companies, like Huawei, are being banned in the US, Australia, and other places. There is nothing hardware engineering that comes from China that has either not been stolen from western, Korean, or Japanese companies, nor that isn’t surpassed by superior software and hardware from the likes of Apple and Samsung.
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In fact, the Chinese government is currently engaging in the largest mass theft of intellectual property from the US and other countries. They pass the stolen IP to their local industries and soon they show up selling our technology back to us, and getting rich from it too. How they have not yet been kicked out of the WTO is shocking.
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There is nothing to admire about a government that is acting with such blunt hostility against us and by their own actions declare themselves an enemy state to us.

Just to be clear, I’m talking strictly about the Chinese government, not the average Chinese citizen. I’ve met, and been friends with, many Chinese people; they were smart, wise and of noble character.

This is right up there with "I’m not racist, I have friends with minority races too!"

This would be true if he wasn’t talking about the Chinese government specifically. He may be a racist, I don’t know, but his original comment does not specifically show him to be one, especially since it true…

Evidence please. I’ve no real bone in this fight but you have to show evidence beyond some CIA report that says they suspect but not show the device actually transmitting data elsewhere.

If the fine folks at XDA haven’t found anything, I’m going to label this bullshit fearmongering until they dig something up.

That’s about IP violations, not the spyware stuff that keeps on coming up.

You’re right. I was speaking more towards the second paragraph of what he had said. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to be worried about shady Chinese business practices. Who really knows though. Maybe Trump is behind it all, LOL.

That fear shouldn’t be a fear, it’s a fact. When doing business in China you have to keep your eyes and ears open, and watch your back. That speaks more about the general mindset than the government spying shennenigans, which is something that hasn’t really been proven…

The United States is far from Homogeneous, try again.

This comment is so stupid and rude

Well, what did you expect from ‘frosty’ tiger?

Delicious food.

Over a billion people live in China where else do you think they will go?

In other words China will soon have a Twitch knockoff containing a backdoor for the Chinese government and stolen ideas from Twitch itself.

Pretty much. The Chinese govt. will turn their Twitch knockoff into one more suppression and censoring tool.

Chinese Twitch: Mandatory 24/7 irl streams

Some well-connected Chinese millennial is about to become unimaginably rich.

lol China already has numerous live streaming platforms…

Umm. there already is.
China is the largest market for live-streaming platforms.

Tencent.tv?

Oh never mind, Tencent already is an investor of 2 streaming services there.

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