AcFun, China's first video-sharing website that overlays comments directly on top of clips, was shut down on Friday.
The website's official account on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, broke the news by saying "I want to live on for 500 years".
AcFun was an important part of China's anime, comic and gaming (ACG) culture.
The website imported the Japanese trend of commenting live on videos as they played to the Chinese mainland in 2007, attracting many creative anime re-edits and articles.
AcFun users generated a wealth of entertaining ideas related to what they called "2-dimensional world" one meme at a time.
China's largest online live-streaming platform, Douyu, was also a part of AcFun before breaking away in 2014.
But AcFun's success as a platform for anime fans did not generate profit – and the cost of maintaining and developing it kept rising.
The last decade saw a great leap in China's copyright protection efforts, blocking pirated anime series from making their way onto AcFun.
Major Chinese video hosts also refused to cooperate with AcFun, forcing the site to pay large sums to build its own hosting service. Advertisement was AcFun’s only source of profit.
The site was also sold and re-sold many times, moving hands from one company to another, which resulted in an inconsistency in AcFun’s development strategy.
Another key weakness that drove users away was its unfriendliness to mobile phones.
For most of its time, AcFun was not mobile-compatible and relied solely on Adobe Flash technology, which smartphones lack, to play videos and live comments.
The vacuum in the mobile market was filled by AcFun’s rival, Bilibili, which took note of the high mobile penetration rate in China and catered its video content to the needs of smart phone users.
Bilibili also solved the pirated video hassle by turning to crowdfunding, asking viewers to donate money and buying the copyrights of anime shows.
For user-uploaded videos, the donations mostly went to the uploader, which encouraged many famous content providers to enrich Bilibili's video library.
The website even started to run mobile games, including Fate/Grand Order, which generated huge revenue gains that helped Bilibili expand.
Of all the obstacles that hindered AcFun’s expansion, the worst must have been its run-in with the government. The website failed to acquire necessary government approvals to provide its video hosting service, which was officially exposed last June by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).
But AcFun might not have completely run out of time. Its survival hinges on its ability to pay for its cloud bills, according to reports on the Chinese version of Global Times.
The website's data is currently hosted by Alibaba's cloud service.
It has long been rumored that Alibaba is interested in investing in AcFun, as its rival, Tencent, has already poured money into Bilibili.