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Olympic ticket booking system crashes
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The booking system crashed under an "unexpected" huge demand for the second batch of Olympic tickets when sales started on Tuesday morning.

According to the Beijing Olympic Ticketing Center, some 9,000 tickets sold out within two hours after the 1.85 million tickets went on sale at 9 AM, while the official ticketing website (www.tickets.beijing2008.cn) saw 8 million hits in the first hour and more than 200,000 orders were received every second.

"Our system has been slow and people couldn't log onto it," said Rong Jun, head of the Olympic Ticketing Center. "We are making efforts to remedy the problem and hope that people will remain patient and try later."

People waited in long queues for hours outside the designated 1,000 branches of the Bank of China, but most of them had to leave disappointed as the booking system crashed soon after the sale started.

"We had tested the booking system several times, but the number of buyers was still beyond our expectations," said Xu Chen, head of the Olympic affairs office at the Bank of China.

Mu Di, who already owns one of the hottest tickets to watch the opening ceremony on August 8, 2008 from the first round of sales, was the first in line at the Bank of China headquarters near the Xidan shopping street.

"I also want to buy tickets for the men's basketball final, women's volleyball final, men's soccer final, men's tennis singles final and men's 110-meter hurdles final, so I came here as early as 2:30 AM," she said.

But Mu eventually only got two tickets for the men's tennis singles and men's 100m hurdles final after a one-hour wait. "The bank staff told me that they couldn't give me a letter of confirmation because the system crashed," Mu said. "They asked me to come again in a few days to pick up the letter."

A total of 7 million tickets are available for sale, with about 75 percent being reserved for domestic sales. The first 1.6 million tickets have been allocated after a lottery earlier this year.

(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2007)

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