The long and winding working hours

October 14, 2020 10:56
E-commerce firm Pinduoduo is known for its unbeatable bargains. Photo: Reuters

Forget 996. Enter 300.

Just when one thought of work-life balance and thumbed down the Alibaba Group’s unique “9am to 9am, six days a week” work model, this is something even worse.

Rival Pinduoduo topped it up with a monthly working hour of 300, according to our columnist Ko Tin-yau, quoting an internal speech from chief executive Zheng Huang.

To kick off the hard-core hardworking model in the hard nose market, he asked his 6,000 staff to adjust to a structural change and prepare the tough road ahead.

He went further to compare the tough environment to COVID-19, stating that “bed rest is not good enough” and “one must train up mentally and physically”.

So, the troop needs to work 300 hours, equivalent to 10 hours per day except February. Unconfirmed internal news suggested the e-commerce company might implement the two-day-off-per-month system , as opposed to the conventional two day off per week.

Are things that bad in Pinduoduo? The US-listed company known for unbeatable cheap bargains such as two yuan for a 10-pack toilet roll led the sector with a sharp gain in share price, thanks to the pandemic-spurred surge in online shopping activities. But competition from rivals and Alibaba Group has been intensifying.

Pinduoduo is currently down about 15 per cent from its August peak, but the share price has still doubled year-to-date.

As an employer, Pingduoduo is attractive to many aspiring youngsters because it generally pays more than rival tech giants. And it is said to be generous with share options. The extra hours would likely be compensated at more than the average rate.

China’s rising tech giants are known to be demanding. Earlier this year, Sohu penalized 500 yuan for staff who showed up in office after 9:30am.

Chief executive Zhang Chaoyang said typically he has already worked a few hours before his staffs show up.

He is a big fan of sleeping early and said four-hour of sleep works well for him and he is in great shape.

No wonder many mainland tech guys can retire early!

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EJ Insight writer