E-commerce platform Pinduoduo apologizes, withdraws heartless post on staffer's death
Published: Jan 05, 2021 12:36 AM

Pinduoduo Photo: CFP

US-listed e-commerce platform Pinduoduo has deleted a controversial statement over a staffer's death claiming it was made by a marketing partner's employee who used a private mobile phone. 

Pinduoduo's moves come after netizens were upset by what was perceived as a cold-hearted comment on its official account on China's Quora-like Q&A platform Zhihu over the employee's sudden death on Monday morning.

"Look at the grassroots. Everyone is making money by sacrificing their physical health. I don't think there is something wrong with money, rather it's the problem of this era … that requires everyone to exert their utmost strength," said the remarks posted on Zhihu.

"Pinduoduo strongly objects to the viewpoint," the company said in an apology statement, noting that it has suspended cooperation with the marketing services supplier.

A post on Chinese Twitter-like social media Sina Weibo about the death of a  23-year-old Pinduoduo employee went viral on Monday. 

According to the post, the employee worked at a grocery purchasing platform for Pinduoduo in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. She collapsed on the way home after working until 1 am.

Pinduoduo confirmed to the Global Times on Monday afternoon that an employee surnamed Zhang fainted at 1:30 am on December 29 and died in a hospital after six hours of treatment.

The death of the young woman has triggered a hot discussion about overwork at internet firms where it is common for staff to work 12 hours a day and six days a week, or even longer. 

China's economic and social development cannot rely too much on people's long-time work as a driving force, said a comment posted on "We should improve labor efficiency and try our best to unify development and the protection of people's rights," the comment said.