Tech Workers in China: Is this why they are so successful overseas?

Benzinga Neuro | June 24, 2024

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In a recent report, Chinese tech workers revealed their plight of working overtime amid slow growth of companies and rampant layoffs.

What Happened: In a video conference, (NASDAQ:JD) founder Richard Liu reportedly warned his employees against prioritizing work-life balance, stating that the company had no room for such individuals. Liu addressed his staff with a stern warning.

“We have employees who prefer to enjoy life, who put life first and work second…so I can only say that you are not our brother, you are a passer-by,” Liu stated during the meeting.

Liu further announced that the Chinese e-commerce giant would intensify efforts to eliminate IT engineers not delivering or working hard enough while rewarding those who performed well.

This warning comes as executives across China’s tech industry grapple with low growth, increasing competition, and investor apathy, leading to staff cuts and higher demands on remaining employees, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

As growth stumbles and share prices fall, executives are reportedly reverting to their leaner startup days. Companies such as Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD), known for its rigorous work hours, are being seen as models to follow.

A developer at Tencent Games (OTC:TCEHY) revealed, “Outwardly, I appear very calm. But the pressure is intense, we’re like gears grinding until they break due to lack of lubrication.”

A former employee of ByteDance-owned TikTok revealed that employees are never on leave and need to attend meetings or else it can get “troublesome.”

See Also: China Invested More Than $230B Over Last Decade To Develop Its EV Industry, Study Finds

Industry giants Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent have laid off tens of thousands of staff since 2021, with Tencent admitting to hiring “lower-cost heads,” typically younger workers.

The pressure is particularly high for older tech professionals, who face the greatest risk of redundancy and a challenging job market. Jenny Chan, associate professor of sociology at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, noted that tech companies were seeking “young, unmarried talents who have time flexibility in megacities.”, Pinduoduo, Alibaba and Tencent have yet to respond to queries sent by Benzinga.

Why It Matters: This warning from Liu comes amidst a backdrop of increasing labor unrest in China’s tech industry. Earlier in May, workers at a BYD Co. (OTC:BYDDF) factory went on strike, protesting against changes in their work schedules that would reduce their income.

Moreover, the push for digital payments in the form of digital yuan has been met with resistance from workers who prefer cash due to the lack of interest and limited usability of the digital currency.

Read Next: Apple’s AI Strategy Faces Hurdles In China, Talks With Local Firms Are Ongoing

Image via Midjourney

This story was generated using Benzinga Neuro and edited by Pooja Rajkumari

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