Monday marked the first day back to work after an extended Spring Festival holiday in China, causing temporary paralysis for business productivity platforms like DingTalk and WeChat Work due to the sheer volume of traffic generated by the hundreds of millions working remotely.

Why it matters: While most businesses in China resumed work on Monday, many took precautionary measures to prevent spreading the current novel coronavirus and required employees to work from home.

  • Companies are relying heavily on virtual workspaces and conferencing tools as they await the return of normal operations.

Details: The unprecedented surge in traffic for popular apps including Tencent’s business communication and office collaboration tool WeChat Work and Alibaba’s virtual workspace app DingTalk caused temporary issues on Monday. Many users complained about connectivity problems on the first day back to work.

  • DingTalk said its video conferencing traffic reached a historical high at 9 a.m. on Monday. The surge caused some connectivity issues and glitches but it recovered momentarily, the company said on its official Weibo account. More than 200 million employees of tens of millions of Chinese businesses worked remotely on Monday, according to the company.
  •  WeChat Work also issued a statement to address connectivity problems that many users complained about on Monday. WeChat Work announced last week that it had ramped up the capacity for its audio and video conferencing tools to allow up to 300 participants per meeting.

Context: Enterprise-facing technologies such as messaging and productivity tools are increasingly prevalent in China. The coronavirus outbreak and the unprecedented number of workers forced to work remotely became a stress test.

  • The jump in remote workers, even temporary, has also created an unexpected opportunity for service providers to acquire new users. DingTalk, WeChat Work, Bytedance’s Feishu, and Huawei Cloud’s WeLink have all made some of their communication and video conferencing features available free of charge.

Nicole Jao

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.

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