Outage at financial data provider Wind tests fragile sentiment in China’s onshore markets

Wind Information, China’s leading financial data provider, suffered a technical malfunction that denied access to a large swathe of its subscribers on Monday, causing some trading snarls in Asia’s largest market.

The data provider notified some users that a glitch in its main network had caused the outage, and its services – available via desktop terminals and its mobile phone app – remained inaccessible throughout the trading period for mainland Chinese markets, some Wind subscribers told the Post. Its data feed had not yet been fully restored when they were able to log in for the first time on the day, they added.

“Of course, [it] caused inconvenience for us,” said Dai Ming, a fund manager at Huichen Asset Management in Shanghai. “I have been unable to log into the Wind app on my mobile phone since around 7am, when I usually run through news headlines on it.

“There have been some cases of technical problems earlier, such as frozen screens when you exported data from Wind. But I’ve never before experienced a login failure like today’s.”

The outage is a setback for Shanghai-based Wind, which is viewed as China’s challenger to Bloomberg, the global data provider founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. While Wind was unable to quantify the full fallout of its outage on trading, some investors said that they were deprived of a key source of live-trading data and news headlines for research and investments.

Wind’s service hotline was busy when contacted by the Post on Monday.

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Wind, which is unlisted, has more than 300,000 terminal users, include all of China’s asset management firms, 85 per cent of its domestic brokerages and 75 per cent of the qualified foreign institutional investors that invest in Chinese stocks, according to the firm. It provides live data feeds from more than 40 stock exchanges globally and financial data on about 100,000 listed companies.

Founded in 1996, Wind also has offices in New York, London and Hong Kong, according to its website. It mainly competes with Hithink RoyalFlush Information Network, a Shenzhen-listed financial data provider, and Bloomberg in China.

The outage has added some frustration to the already fragile sentiment around China’s onshore stocks. The CSI 300 Index has extended a record run of three straight years of declines into 2024: it dropped 1.3 per cent to its lowest in almost five years on Monday on concerns about deflationary pressures.

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Wind alerted users about the failure in a notice and said that its workers were striving to restore services, according to Wu Kan, an investment manager at Soochow Securities in Shanghai.

“We can read the news from somewhere else, but cannot get the data we want, for now,” he said. “There’s some disruption to our work, but it’s not significant.”

The outage will also not cause a massive backlog of unexecuted orders, as very few Chinese money managers place orders for buying and selling stocks through its terminals because of security concerns, said Huichen Asset’s Dai.

Shares worth 645.4 billion yuan (US$90.2 billion) changed hands on mainland Chinese exchanges on Monday, lower than the daily average of 853.4 billion yuan last year, according to Bloomberg data.

“It was not a busy trading day because of bad market sentiment,” said Soochow Securities’ Wu.

“So the failure wouldn’t have massively disrupted trading at a time of shrinking trading volumes.”

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