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Tianjin blasts took down Tencent data centre and local tech operations

Tue 18 Aug 2015

Tianjin explosion

Explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin last week reportedly took down a considerable portion of tech businesses, including internet giant Tencent’s local data centre.

The blast, originating at a chemical storage warehouse, caused severe damage to the facility’s server room which led to temporary delays in video streaming for Tencent customers. The company said over WeChat that basic repairs are already underway and that the data centre has returned to normal operations. It added that none of the centre’s employees had been injured in the chemical explosion.

It was also confirmed that China’s Tianhe-1a supercomputer had been shut down as a precautionary measure after the building that it is housed in was damaged by the Tianjin blast. However, reports later claimed that the room housing Tianhe-1a was itself unaffected, with the explosion only breaking some walls and shattering glass on the exterior of the property.

Further disruption was caused at popular recruitment platform Liepin, which completed a $70mn series C funding last year. The company’s development centre was seriously damaged and 17 employees suffered injuries in the blast.

58.com, a major classifieds website, was also within the explosion radius. CEO Yao Jinbo said that corporate accommodation, housing 600 employees, had to be evacuated. He added that no one was seriously injured.

Online media company Sohu and international tech leader HP also have operations within the vicinity of the blast which are thought to have been affected.

Following the blasts the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) pulled down 50 websites on the grounds of “dangerous misinformation,” and “creating panic by publishing unverified information or letting users spread groundless rumours,” according to reports by national paper Xinhua. 18 sites had their licenses removed, while the remaining 32 were suspended.

One case saw an individual sentenced to five days in prison after writing that the blasts had killed 1,300 people.


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