Didi blames service disruption on software failure; Alibaba Cloud faces second outage in November

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In a recent development, Didi Chuxing, often referred to as China’s Uber, has attributed the breakdown of its ride-hailing service in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to an “underlying system software failure.” The incident, occurring earlier this week, left thousands of commuters stranded and unable to book rides, with billing services also experiencing malfunctions.

In a statement released on its official WeChat account on Wednesday, Didi expressed regret over the disruption and acknowledged the inconvenience caused to users. The company pledged to conduct a comprehensive technical risk assessment and implement necessary upgrades to ensure service stability, aiming to prevent similar incidents in the future. “We let our users down, and apologize sincerely,” Didi stated in its official communication.

Didi Chuxing handles a staggering 30 million ride orders per day, making it a critical component of China’s transportation infrastructure. The recent service disruption comes as a setback for the company, especially considering its status as the first Big Tech firm to undergo a cybersecurity review by the Chinese government. This review followed its tumultuous New York listing in June 2021 and subsequent 18-month ban on new user registrations, imposed until January of this year, coupled with a hefty $1.2 billion fine over data violations.

Meanwhile, Alibaba Cloud, a key player in the cloud services sector, faced its second outage of the month on Monday. The disruption impacted customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, and the United States. According to Alibaba’s statement on Tuesday, the abnormality in console and OpenAPI access for database products was detected at 9:16 am Beijing time on November 27, 2023. The issue was resolved nearly two hours later, by 10:58 am.

This incident follows closely on the heels of Alibaba Cloud’s service failure a day after the Singles’ Day shopping festival earlier this month. The three-and-a-half-hour outage affected several popular Alibaba apps, including DingTalk, a workplace communications tool, and Xianyu, a second-hand goods trading platform, as well as the widely used online marketplace Taobao.

The consecutive technical setbacks are noteworthy for two major players in China’s tech landscape, both of which pride themselves on the reliability of their technology. The incidents underscore the challenges even the most prominent tech companies face in maintaining seamless services, with implications for user trust and the overall stability of digital ecosystems. As both Didi and Alibaba Cloud work towards resolving and preventing future disruptions, the incidents serve as a reminder of the importance of robust technology infrastructure in the digital age.

(Source: Tracy Qu | SCMP)

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