MORE FROM KrASIA

Sabotage against China’s largest WeChat SaaS provider impacts millions of merchants

The employee who allegedly sabotaged the company’s data has been detained by the police.

Weimob, China’s largest software as a service (SaaS) provider of WeChat solutions for small and medium businesses, has promised to completely restore its service by February 28 after an employee deliberately sabotaged the platform by deleting large amounts of data, forcing millions of customers to suspend their operations.

On February 25, Shanghai-based Weimob announced that recent technical issues, which rendered the service temporarily unavailable, were caused intentionally. An employee in the maintenance and operations department damaged the production environment and data of the company’s SaaS business due to “personal mental and life issues,” the company said. The person has already been detained by the police in Shanghai, it added.

After discovering the data was deleted, the company quickly began a restoration project, and announced on Tuesday that the SaaS production environment would be repaired by the end of the day. While some mini-programs supported by Weimob have resumed operations, data and services for its existing users are expected to be completely restored by midnight February 28.

Weimob, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE), saw its stock price drop for two consecutive days from HKD 6.18 (USD 0.79) to HKD 5.56 (USD 0.71) since then, losing nearly HKD 1.4 billion (USD 179.7 million) in market capitalization. The price has increased slightly to HKD 6.03 (USD 0.77) as of today.

The alleged sabotage has impacted millions of merchants who rely on Weimob’s services to run their online businesses. The firm, with its wide array of services that include product display, order intake, payment processing, as well as social media marketing services, says it has 3 million registered merchants, 70,006 paying merchants, and nearly 20,000 advertisers, as of June 2019.

The company said that losses stemming from the breach are difficult to quantify and will be determined by “the extent and speed of the restoration of the business.” Weimob is currently in talks with merchants about compensation.

For the six months ended June 30 last year, revenues from the Weimob’s SaaS business totaled RMB 219.1 million (USD 31.1 million), representing approximately 33.4% of the company’s total revenue. During the same period, the company’s marketing service accounted for 66.6% of revenues.