Exhausted tech workers in China struggle for long hours


tracking hours

The time to work began with a spreadsheet shared on Tencent Docs, the Chinese version of Google Docs. Soon after it was published, it was filled with entries attributed to companies such as Alibaba, the Chinese language internet search provider Baidu, and e-commerce company JD.com.

“9 a.m., 10:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., six days a week, managers usually go home after midnight,” read one of the entries linked to the tech giant Huawei.

“10 a.m., 9 p.m. (off time is 9 p.m., but our group stays until 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. because of the solstice,” another entry noted (“solstice” is Chinese Internet slang for irrational competition).

Within three days, more than 1,000 entries were added. A few days later, it became the most popular topic on Zhihu’s online forum in China.

As the spreadsheet grew and attracted more public attention, an organizer named 秃头 才能 变 (“Only being bald can make you strong”), I came out in Zhihu to share the story behind the burgeoning project.

“Four of us are recent college and master’s graduates born between 1996 and 2001,” the organizer said. Initially, the spreadsheet was just for sharing information, to help job seekers like themselves, they said. But as it spread, regulators decided to move from information gathering to activism. “It’s not just about sharing anymore, because we have some social responsibility,” he wrote 秃头 才能 变 .



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