Entrepreneurship means spending all day and night in the office for China’s startups

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/5/15 18:53:38

Han Liqun (L), an HR manager at RenRen Credit Management Co., and IT engineer Xiang Siyang sleep on camp beds at their office. Photo: CFP

After spending countless nights at the office over the past 15 years, Dai Xiang, now 40 years old, set up 12 beds in the office he rents for his own company in Beijing.

He used to work night shifts in a traditional machinery company, but now the working hours for most of the employees of his cloud-computing company are longer than ever and they have to stay in the office day and night. This is a common sight at startups in China's booming Internet technology industry.

The companies' owners and workers rush to turn their technological ideas into real products in the fast-changing industry, or to satisfy the demands of their cost-sensitive venture capital investors. If they can succeed, one good idea may bring exponential growth to their business.

In some companies, employees return home only on weekends. Liu Zhanyu, a client manager with DoumiYoupin, has turned the firm's meeting room into his bedroom from Monday to Friday, to save precious hours by not commuting. He has to get up at 8:30 in the morning, before his colleagues arrive for work. He feels guilty about not spending time with his 3-year-old son, but deems the long hours at work a necessary sacrifice to help a business in its preliminary phase. For some others, working till midnight is simply the norm.

Compared with their counterparts in Silicon Valley, business owners say the market faced by Chinese companies is even more competitive.

As business booms, employees working extra hours has become inevitable. However, in many cases, the programmers are simply exploited as cheap labor.

Global Times

Zhang Huichao (L), a programmer at N-Wei Technology, chats with his colleague in the living room of an apartment which their company uses as an office and dormitory. Photo: CFP


Employees at Goopal Group take a nap in their seats after lunch, in Beijing. Photo: CFP

Liu Zhanyu, a client manager at DoumiYoupin, washes his feet in the office's bathroom before going to sleep. Photo: CFP

Du Xianchang, a R&D engineer at BaishanCloud, climbs up a ladder as he goes to bed in his office's sleeping quarters. Photo: CFP


Employees of RenRen Credit Management Co. drink after finishing work at midnight. Photo: CFP

Newspaper headline: Boardroom bedroom

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