China's tech giants under fire for long work hours

Among the so-called blacklist of firms that compel their workers to follow 12-hour days, six days a week, is e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Among the so-called blacklist of firms that compel their workers to follow 12-hour days, six days a week, is e-commerce giant Alibaba.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Workers complain of burnout as bosses push 9am to 9pm, six days a week schedule

The extreme overtime culture in China's technology sector has, in recent weeks, sparked an intense public debate about unhealthy work hours, fuelled by the comments of billionaire entrepreneurs who said they stand by the practice.

Once a source of pride and a ready explanation for the meteoric rise of Chinese tech giants, workers are now protesting against the practice of unpaid overtime common across the industry and often held up as an exemplar of fendoujingshen (spirit of struggle), or a good work ethic.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2019, with the headline 'China's tech giants under fire for long work hours'. Print Edition | Subscribe