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June 22, 2014

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License plate sale invalidated

YESTERDAY’S online license plate auction was declared invalid after the bidding system crashed, its organizer said.

The collapse was due to “data interaction anomalies caused by a recent bidding system upgrade,” Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co said.

As a result of the breakdown and “in the interests of participants,” all bids placed yesterday were deemed null and void, it said.

The company issued an apology to those affected by the glitch and said a replacement auction will be held next Sunday.

The technical problem was the latest to befall the system. In recent months, numerous people have complained of traffic congestion preventing them from making bids.

According to the Shanghai Traffic Commission, the system failed yesterday because it had not gone through enough pressure tests after a recent upgrade.

“It had nothing to do with hacking,” said Huang Xiaoyong, its deputy head of public relations.

The hacking comment was made in response to rumors of foul play, which began to circulate after it was noticed that fewer bidders than last month, about 84,000, made it through to the second and final round of bidding.

Several bidders complained of receiving “busy” notices even before the final round of bidding, while others said they were forced to log out.

The situation continued to get worse before the organizers made an official announcement of the system glitch. The government set a quota of 7,400 plates for this month’s auction.


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