Pokémon GO is being tested in China! A mysterious test site occurred in Taiyuan, China, bringing the game to life and disabling it soon there after. It’s unclear if this is just a test or pre-launch preparations.

Pokémon GO was banned in China due to “national security and consumer safety” concerns. Prior to today there were zero in-game activities. A Trainer traveling through China shared this on reddit and tipped us afterwards — Eric Ji, you rock!

Today, for a couple of hours, Pokémon GO was fully functional in Taiyuan, China, although there were no public announcements by Niantic or The Pokémon Company.

Eric has reported the following about his experience:

  • The Nearby screen is now operational, showing multiple Pokémon. In his own words:

During the month long trip at Taiyuan, China: this was the first time any sign of life was discovered on the map. The map previously had roads and buildings but there were no Pokémon, Poké Stops, or Gyms.

  • PokéStops are based on Ingress portals available in the area and fully functional (items awarded correctly)
  • Gyms and Raids are live, although all of the Gyms are white and unclaimed
  • Farfetch’d is available in China! Eric managed to catch one in Shanxi, China

  • There was a number of issues with the game:

However, there were a few issues within the game. While driving on the road, the GPS was not accurate and the map had some wrong features. However, for the most part the game seemed fine.

  • The game died after a few hours

Along the journey towards the nearby Raid, Pokémon began to disappear from the nearby list; and shortly after, all the Gyms and Pokéstops disappeared as if the game was never released again.

It seems that Niantic is working towards lifting the “geo-blockade”, but again, it could be just a test site for something completely different.

However, we believe that Niantic has ironed out a lot of the previously reported security issues, especially with the new PokéStop based tracker, raid curfew and improvements to Trainer security.

We could be hearing about an official Chinese launch (re-launch?) soon.

  • Pokemon Trainer N

    Now that’s interesting. I guess Niantic can just flip the switch at any time, and have the game go on or off in a short time in any area.

    • GonzoI

      They have to have physically local servers prepared for it, though. You don’t want to connect to a server in the US from China while trying to play because at that distance the network traffic going back accumulates enough lag from the limitation of light speed (around 50ms per round trip before accounting for hardware factors which would bring it up to about 200ms per round trip) that it would be very hard to play.

      • Spetsen

        I don’t know where the servers are located (probably on multiple places around the world), but I know that the game is released basically globally. One of the biggest markets for the game is Japan, which is pretty close to China.

        • GonzoI

          Google has banks of servers worldwide. Connecting to servers in Japan would work for a small number, but it’s unlikely that they would route Chinese traffic through Japan if it’s released in China.

  • Алексей Ващенко

    It would be better to start the game in Russia, Ukraine and other country

    • Robert Fletcher

      I’m in Kiev, Ukraine and I play all the time. It’s very popular!

      • Алексей Ващенко

        Точно, играют очень много игроков а официально у нас запустить не могут игру

        • Jacob Peter Dokter

          Translating: Exactly, a lot of players play and officially we can not run the game

  • notquiterocketwildbokan

    Was he able to put any Pokemon in gyms? And if so, what happened when they disappeared? Did the Pokemon stay in a gym that technically doesn’t exist?