Alibaba Cloud Outage Takes Down Shopping, Communications Apps


Alibaba Cloud outage takes down shopping site Taobao, business communications platform DingTalk, cloud storage services for hours on Sunday

Alibaba Cloud, China’s biggest cloud provider, has apologised after an outage took down one of its online shopping platforms and other widely used apps for more than three hours on Sunday.

The incident was Alibaba’s second major outage in less than a year, following a failure of more than 24 hours last December that affected cloud customers in Hong Kong and Macau.

The firm said in a statement that it detected abnormalities in its console and API at 5:44 pm local time and restored all services by 9:11 pm, about three and a half hours later.

The outage affected the consumer-to-consumer retail platform Taobao, the world’s 14th biggest e-commerce platform and the sixth most visited website in China, according to Similarweb.

Image credit: Alibaba

Cloud services down

Taobao had only the day before concluded its annual Singles’ Day bonanza, China’s biggest shopping event.

Other major Alibaba Group apps such as workplace communications tool DingTalk and second-hand goods trading platform Xianyu were also affected, in addition to Alibaba’s distributed messaging and cloud storage services.

The operation of most other Alibaba Cloud products remained unaffected, the firm said.

The incident is a blow to Alibaba as it seeks to position itself at the forefront of the country’s highly competitive AI industry, which requires massive amounts of cloud computing power to train AI models.

IPO plans

Some 80 percent of Chinese tech companies and half of its large AI model firms run on Alibaba’s cloud infrastructure, Alibaba Group chairman Joe Tsai said last month.

The company said it is remaking itself as an “open technology platform” providing infrastructure services for AI innovation and the transformation of “thousands of industries”, chief executive Eddie Wu said last week.

The cloud division is aiming to make a public offering next May as part of Alibaba Group’s major restructure into a number of independent companies.