China workplace

Data room operators work at the headquarters of online shopping platform JD.com during the Singles' Day shopping festival in Beijing on 11 November 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

72-hour workweek in China's tech companies: Driving innovation or destroying workers?

News of young employees dying from overwork at major Chinese tech companies are not unheard of. Last December, a 22-year-old female employee at e-commerce giant Pinduoduo died after working long hours past midnight. China's intense efforts at increasing national competences in new and advanced technologies have seen it moving up the value chain from a low-cost manufacturer to an innovator in science and technology. But is the “996 culture” of working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, feasible and sustainable?
People wearing face masks walk past the China Zun skyscraper at the central business district in Beijing, China, 15 January 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

'Driving the blade inwards': Why China may join the CPTPP

China’s willingness to consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is perhaps an admission that emphasising free trade but ignoring fair trade is no longer sustainable. Even sacred cows such as its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and insistence on the WTO platform for multilateral trade negotiations may be up for discussion. On a practical level, the CPTPP may just be the external push it needs to force its SOEs to reform.
"The passionate declarations and slogans..."

Final battle: Chinese youths' hard fight with gaokao

There is a term that every young student in China knows well and probably dreads: the gaokao, or university entrance exam. The intense competition and pressure is enough to strain any person to breaking point, given the high stakes — real or perceived. Comic artist Bai Yi presents the all-too-familiar struggle to meet expectations.
Heroes in Harm's Way publicity poster. (Weibo/CCTV电视剧)

China's first drama on fighting Covid-19 hits roadblock

Heroes in Harm's Way, a Chinese television series based on the Covid-19 pandemic, has drawn flak for inaccurate portrayals and gender discrimination. While the depiction of such a catastrophic event would have touched many a raw nerve in any case, the drama’s lack of finesse in telling China’s story has offended not only those outside China, but those within China as well, especially the young. Writ large, those running China’s inability to frame a credible narrative will only see them lose their cachet at home and abroad.
A shop for Chinese telecom giant Huawei features a red sticker reading "5G" in Beijing, 25 May 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China looks forward to a new world of 5G connectivity

The China-US 5G race has led to the rapid growth of certain industries, in particular, e-sports and working on the go. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi examines the possibilities of 5G technology.
A man under a bridge of the Yangtze river in Wuhan, 15 April 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

When the only option is fraud: How institutional faults led to the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan

Chen Kang attributes the blindspots in China’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak to the tendency of officials to withhold information and put up appearances for their own interests. As such, decision-making could be impaired by the asymmetry of information and misaligned interests between superiors and subordinates, especially at the local level. Results then vary based on how well one navigates the minefields of groupthink, collusion and that seemingly innocuous aim of not rocking the boat. Using the prism of formalism, or what is prizing form over substance, Chen points out the weakness of a centralised system.
Huawei has found itself the target of public anger following an incident involving the wrongful detention of a former employee. (Hannibal Hanschke/REUTERS)

Huawei under fire over jailed ex-employee

Chinese telecom giant Huawei is facing a tide of public anger from within China, following its handling of an incident involving a former employee who was wrongly jailed for 251 days. Lim Zhan Ting explores how Huawei landed itself in this position and what it can do to recover its image.
China’s domestic economic growth is slowing while companies’ operating costs are going up. Foreign trade orders have been impacted by a worsening global trade environment, and China’s private companies are facing new challenges in transformation and upgrading. (AFP)

Private enterprises in China feel the heat of government influence

In September this year, the Hangzhou municipal government started sending government officers to be attached to some private companies, sparking discussion and speculation over the motive behind such a move. What are these private companies concerned about, and are these concerns valid?
Do you have what it takes to survive at the workplace in China? (iStock)

Are you hungry: Survival tips for China

Are you hungry enough to do what it takes to succeed? So Cheer shares his encounters in China, how his client rejected a dinner appointment for six times and how he wolfed down a plate of noodles that could be cooked using gutter oil. So, what does it take to succeed at the workplace in China?