Tencent's employee challenging overtime work triggers hot discussion online
Published: Jan 27, 2022 12:53 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A new employee at Shenzhen-based Tencent challenging overtime work triggered a hot discussion online on Wednesday with some netizens even saying the move hopes to be the beginning of the end of the "Neijuan" or "internal competition" in the hyper-competitive culture in China's internet industry.

The employee, surnamed Zhang, criticized the fact that managers, only pay attention to the progress of work and ignore the continuous overtime work of developers, according to China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo.

"If the timeline of a project is pushed back for one day, will the Enterprise WeChat go bankrupt immediately? If the launch of an official website is delayed by one day, will the users immediately go to [the competitor] Dingding or Feishu?" The comments were made in an internal forum where other developers posted work results after more than one week of high-intensity overtime.

Zhang challenged the management and asked if developers have to work more than 20 hours to make a satisfactory version. He asked: "Have you ever considered the life and death of your employees when scheduling tasks? Is an incentive bonus of several thousand yuan worth a high-intensity overtime of more than 20 hours, again and again?"

The topic has topped the ranking in the hot search list in China's Twitter-like social media platform, Sina Weibo, and has marked more than 370 million views as of Wednesday evening. 

Some netizens commented that this could be the beginning of the end of Neijuan, the hyper-competitive culture in China's internet industry where life is likened to a zero-sum game. A netizen said "I admire him very much for he has already decided to quit the job, but still fights for his colleagues."

Later, Huang Tieming, head of the Enterprise WeChat group, also responded to the matter on Tencent's internal forum. 

Huang said he was ashamed that the work had made employees' life so hard and said that the continuous high-intensity rush was not sustainable. He also proposed measures like timely planning, healthy and reasonable working hours and a clear evaluation orientation.

Huang also hopes to see more Internet companies facing and solving the problem of overwork, according to news outlet, The Paper. 

Internet companies have been in the hot water of overwork for a long time and there have been calls in China to ban the "996" work schedule, where employees are encouraged to work from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week.

In August 2021, the Supreme People's Court of China and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly released a guideline illustrating 10 typical cases of overtime work, stipulating that the "996" overtime work policy is illegal. 

The number of companies and organizations using Enterprise WeChat, which is developed for business communication, exceeds 10 million. Its active users exceed 180 million, and the number of active users it connected on WeChat is over 500 million, according to data from Tencent revealed by Huang at new product launch of the Enterprise WeChat 2022 on January 11.