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In a partnership between Chinese publisher Perfect World and Valve, the companies have announced working on Steam China, which will provide players and developers in China a new way to access Steam's games and services.
This is a big deal because Steam has operated in something of a gray area for a long time in China, with few of the games on its platform being sold with official government approval. Some of the big exceptions are Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: GO, which have been published and operated in China by Perfect World since 2012.
In fact, today's Steam China announcement comes six months after China blocked the Steam Community page and everything it encompasses, which includes forums, guides, achievements, badges, game hubs, and groups. Despite the block of community features, the Steam Store and Steam itself were still publicly available in China.
According to a press release, Perfect World and Valve will be collaborating closely on Steam China. This includes actively promoting its launch, marketing, and game lineup, although no changes are planned for Steam's existing worldwide operations and services as a result of the announcement.
There is no information about when Steam China will be released.