Much of China encountered a major web traffic jam yesterday. According to The New York Times, something seemingly went seriously awry within the country's Great Firewall on Tuesday, causing it to redirect nearly all traffic from inside China to the servers of a mysterious company registered to a small building in Cheyenne, Wyoming (pictured above). GreatFire.org, a site that monitors China's firewall, reports that the issue lasted for around 45 minutes before it began to be gradually resolved — a process that the Times reports may have taken upward of eight hours for some.
China likely meant to block traffic to the address instead
It's suspected that China's censors had actually been trying to block the servers that it accidentally routed all traffic too: the Times reports that the servers' owner, Sophidea Incorporated, appears to help people evade China's firewall.
It's unclear exactly what Sophidea Incorporated is though. According to the Times, the company was previously registered to 2710 Thomes Avenue in Cheyenne, Wyoming — an address that was the focus on an extensive Reuters profile in 2011, which discovered that it was home to more than 2,000 companies even though it measured just 1,700-square-feet. Reuters found that the location was actually the headquarters of Wyoming Corporate Services, a firm that specializes in creating shell companies for others to buy — Sophidea Incorporated seemingly being among them. Wyoming Corporate Services reportedly no longer operates out of that location, but has moved to a nearby building in Cheyenne. While the company likely won't be happy with its renewed attention, the traffic issue drawing it into the spotlight appears to have fully subsided for now.
Update: The New York Times is now reporting that Wyoming Corporate Services is no longer located at 2710 Thomes Avenue and has moved to a nearby, two-story building in Cheyenne. This story has been updated to reflect that.