So many shoppers flocked to Chinese shopping platform Taobao on Wednesday that the app crashed
Chinese media outlets reported an outage on the platform that lasted for less than an hour.
This coincided with people rushing to place pre-orders for the Singles’ Day Shopping Festival, China’s version of Black Friday.
Hordes of Chinese shoppers looking to cash in on sweet deals on the shopping app Taobao may have caused the platform to temporarily crash on October 20.
The platform was hosting a nationwide preorder event ahead of its annual Singles Day Shopping Festival, which is akin to Black Friday in the US. Known as “Double 11,” last year’s shopping festival reaped the Alibaba-owned platform some $56 billion in sales.
The preorder system involves people putting down a deposit to reserve items instead of rushing to snap up limited quantities of coveted goods on November 11. When Insider visited the Taobao platform on Wednesday at approximately 8 p.m. local time, attempts to place a variety of preorders were met with error messages. Live broadcasts on the platform also appeared to be temporarily inaccessible, though the issue appeared to have been resolved by 9 p.m. local time.
Taobao users across China also reported seeing significant delays in their purchases going through, per a report by Chinese state-linked business news outlet National Business Daily. The news outlet also reported that at the same time, the hashtags “Taobao crashed” became the number-two trending topic on Weibo, the country’s version of Twitter. At press time, the topic thread had clocked around 17,400 comments, with Weibo users complaining about not being able to place their orders on time and missing out on deals.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Following the launch of the preorder systems on Wednesday, the 2021 Singles’ Day Shopping Festival is set to take place over three weeks, with sales lasting until November 11.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s shopping platforms racked up some $115 billion in sales on Singles Day in 2020, an all-time high. This far exceeds the $4.8 billion in sales Amazon reaped from Black Friday through Cyber Monday last year.
In 2020, the November 11 event also featured a star-studded concert. During the four-hour gala, a host of Taobao-linked influencers set up their live-streaming studios in cube-like structures surrounding a mega- stage, hawking their wares to the backdrop of performances by China’s top celebrities like singer Hua Chenyu, pianist Lang Lang and actor Jackson Yee. Singer Mariah Carey and model Miranda Kerr also attended a 2018 iteration of the Singles’ Day gala.
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