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China blocks Twitch amidst rise to popularity of live gaming streams

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After a recent surge in popularity among Chinese gamers, China has blocked the popular video game streaming service Twitch.

The service's website has been unreachable from the country since September 20th and its app is no longer available from Apple's App Store in China.

Twitch has confirmed that its service is being blocked in China though it does not know what led Chinese authorities to impose the restriction.

Asian Games

The streaming platform's recent popularity in China occurred as a direct result of state-run broadcaster CCTV's decision not to air the e-sports matches that were shown during the Asian Games (opens in new tab) in Jakarta. 

Chinese users began downloading Twitch's app as an alternative to watch coverage of the games which pushed it to the third highest spot on the free apps section of the App Store. This surge in popularity likely led to Chinese authorities taking notice of the service and deciding to block it within the country.

While CCTV initially chose not to cover the Asian Games, the network did eventually report on the games after China brought home two gold medals.

Twitch's future in China

This is not the first time that the Chinese government has blocked access to a Western service after it has become popular with Chinese users. 

The social media networks Facebook and Twitter were also banned in China and have remained so to this day while Google has not operated in the country for eight years.

Twitch's parent company, Amazon, may be a tech giant in the West but even with its influence, it will likely be quite difficult to convince China's governing elite to reverse the ban on the popular games streaming service.

  • Having trouble accessing Twitch? Use a VPN to get around region blocks
Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.