Valve has announced a new partnership with Chinese video game developer, Perfect World, to release a new version of Steam in China, called Steam China. This could go some way to helping to separate out the gaming communities in certain titles, which can often be dominated by laggy players from that region playing on U.S. servers.
The Steam store is already available in China, but various other aspects of Steam haven't been. Most notably the Workshop, profiles, and community functions haven't been available for Chinese gamers. With this move by Valve and Perfect World though, that call could change.
Considering there are hundreds of millions of real and potential gamers within China, this deal is huge for Valve, which potentially opens up its library of games and trading features -- which Valve makes a killing off of as well -- to a much wider audience.
Valve games too will get a much-needed boost in the country, with Perfect World licensed to offer DotA 2 and CS:GO to Chinese gamers. It's not clear if this means other Valve titles won't be available in the region yet, or what that means for the wider library of games on Steam, but it seems likely that in time many of them will be released there. Considering the penchant Chinese gamers have for in-game transactions, many titles that have faced pushback in Western markets may find a new home in that region too.
As PCGamer highlights, this move comes just one year after Chinese gaming giant Tencent, made moves to increase its stake in western gaming, so it could be that Valve is looking to gain a foothold in Tencent's territory to offset any potential losses it sees through that expansion.