Beijing Business Today, 10/24/11
Chinese third-party payment processor Alipay has announced on its official microblog account that its platform was the target of large-scale fund withdrawals coordinated by protesting Taobao Mall SME merchants on the evening of October 21. Alipay users later reported being unable to use the platform the following two days. Alipay emphasized that consumers' funds remained safe and available, and will continue to be insured by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and overseen by the People's Bank of China.
On the evening of October 22 and the afternoon of October 23, some Alipay users reported that the online payment platform was not functioning properly on Taobao Mall, and at approximately 11 AM on October 23, Taobao Mall's payment webpage was down, displaying either a "cannot display webpage" or "system error" message.
According to an Alipay spokesperson, the weekend outage was unrelated to the mass withdrawals organized by smaller Taobao Mall merchants. Handling millions of RMB in transactions is not a problem for Alipay, according to the representative, who pointed out that the platform handled RMB 2 bln in transaction in a single day during a Taobao promotion in November 2010, and claimed the outage was due to a server restart the previous afternoon.
Editor's Note: For more information on this topic, please see "Rumor: Taobao Mall Stores Flooded with Malicious False Orders," MD 10/12/11 issue.