U.S. video gaming platform Roblox Corp., (RBLX.N) has taken down its Chinese app that fronted its expansion efforts into the country, telling Reuters it was part of “a number of important transitory actions” as it builds its next version.
On December 8, Roblox’s Chinese version LuoBuLeSi, published and operated by Tencent, abruptly closed down its server five months after it launched on iOS and Android.
Many users, taken by surprise, took to Chinese social media to complain about the short notice.
What users had been playing was in fact an “archive-deleting test version,” LuoBuLeSi said in a notice. But one user snapped: “Have you seen a testing game that lets users add funds to their accounts?”
“Last year, we launched Roblox China also known as LuoBuLeSi with a vision to build an immersive virtual universe of 3D experiences in China that we have been testing and iterating on along the way,” a Roblox spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch.
“We always knew that building a compelling platform in China is an iterative process, and we are thankful for the support of LuoBuLeSi users and our global developer community.”
Tencent has not responded to TechCrunch’s request for comment.
In May 2019, Roblox and Tencent announced a joint venture in which the former holds a 51% controlling stake and Tencent with 49%, a rare arrangement in which a foreign entity commands the majority share in a Chinese joint venture.
In July 2020, LuoBuLeSi rolled out an Android test version, which explicitly said it would clear user archives when the period ended.