Valve's Chinese version of Steam has been released in alpha.
That's according to Win.GG, which reports that the local edition of the popular PC games storefront has been launched in an early phase. The milestone was revealed in an update to the Steam client, which made reference to this having reached alpha.
Valve announced in July 2018 that it had partnered with Chinese firm Perfect World for this version of Steam. This client comes with a number of local features to help meet the strict regulations in this part of the world. Steam China loads up a message from the Democratic Peoples Republic of China with guidelines on playing games in a healthy way.
There are also restrictions built into the local client to stop people playing too much, with Win.GG receiving a message saying "You can't play this game between 10pm and 8am the following day. Please take a break," when attempting to boot up CS:GO when it was 5am in China.
This version of Steam also comes with a stripped-down version of friends. Names are replaced with their Steam ID, which is a string of numbers. Presumably this is due to usernames having to be approved by a Chinese agency.
Steam has been available in China for some time in something of a grey area. The Chinese audience has been growing on Valve's platform for some time, with the company even holding a Single's Day Sale to mark a local holiday. According to a Steam hardware survey, Simplified Chinese is now the most popular language on the platform.