Twitch is now banned in China

Twitch's app is no longer available in China.                  Nicole Cozma  CNET

Twitch's app is no longer available in China. Nicole Cozma CNET

Popular live streaming platform Twitch appears to have been banned in China.

The move comes after the streaming service became the third most popular free app in the Chinese iOS store, according to analytics firm App Annie.

The site experienced a huge surge of users inside mainland China this week, and now both the desktop client and mobile app are both completely inaccessible.

The service, which livestreams video gameplay and esports tournaments, has been blocked in China, a Twitch spokesman said in an email Friday. However, the decision was not implemented consistently, and while the majority of China's provinces doesn't have access to the game streaming site, some region scattered in Northern and Southern China could still access the platform yesterday. It was unannounced, and Twitch confirmed the news only after being asked by Abacus.

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Users are greeted with an error message when trying to log into the site, and if they attempt to download the Chinese version of the app, well, they can't - it's been removed from all application stores.

Still, it was bound to happen soon one way or another, since China has cracked down on similar services in the past.

For the majority of the IT&C companies, the Chinese Government's decision to ban the Twitch game streaming platform is just another proof of the Chinese censorship on the Western platforms and companies.

It may be the case that the Chinese government realized children unable to play online games, or who had used up their allotted time playing them, could load up Twitch and watch someone else playing instead. Even then, the gaming indusry is responsible for tens of billions of dollars in revenue for China every year, led by PC and MMO titles. It is the world's largest video game market, host to the world's largest publisher (Tencent), and has a total number of video game players larger than the total population of the United States.

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