Pinduoduo Ex-Employee Suicide: Chinese Marketplace Giant Hit by Toxic Workplace Allegation

For years, Chinese marketplace giant Pinduoduo has a perplexing relationship with the community. This time, a social media post by an ex-employee adds more fuel to the fire. A 15-minute video by a former employee, surnamed Wang, details the grueling condition he had to endure while working for the marketplace. 

"In some teams," said Wang, as noted by Financial Times, "You'll be talked to if you don't work enough hours. (Pinduoduo's) grocery team at headquarters is required to work at least 380 hours a month and if you work less than that you'll be asked whether you have enough to do." 

According to Wang, Pinduodo fired the ex-employee last Friday (1/8) after anonymously posting a picture of an ambulance outside his office's HQ and captioning, "A second Pinduoduo martyr topples over." After the post went viral, Pinduoduo bosses called him into a conference room to sign a "voluntary resignation letter.

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Backfiring Consequences

Last week, a Pinduoduo employee collapsed on her way home at night after allegedly exceeding a more extended week than the "996" approach in most technology sectors in China where employees are expected to work from 9 AM to 9 PM, six days a week. 

According to reports from Bloomberg, the female employee collapsed at 1:30 AM while walking home with colleagues. Born in 1998, she joined Pinduoduo in July 2019 and died after nearly six hours of first aid. The Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau has rolled out an in-depth investigation.

Her death sparked a massive backlash on social media regarding the brutal "996" approach, which many Chinese tech giants and companies have already implemented, including Jack Ma's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

It is not the only Pinduoduo employee to become the latest victim of the grueling workforce, and it wouldn't be the last if the tech company doesn't take its employee's mental and physical health seriously. 

According to Global Times, an engineer, surnamed Tan, jumped to his death from his Changsha home in Hunan. The 23-year-old worked until 1 AM on December 29, raising an alarming concern about the tech industry's overwork demands in China. 

Anti-996

Several reports notice that over 40 companies, including Huawei, Alibaba, JD.com, 58, Pinduoduo, and many others, implement the horrific schedule or an even more intensive alternative. 

In 2019, an online "anti-996" campaign started among the nation's youths, and it did not go smoothly.

Richard Liu, the founder of JD.com, said that "Slackers are not my brothers," despite several reports on unnecessary fatigue on his very own employees. Jack Ma, Alibaba mogul who is currently missing, also once said that the system should be hailed as "a huge blessing" to "achieve the success [one] want[s] without paying extra effort and time." 

As of Wang's allegation, the marketplace giant has denied the accusation, claiming that the ambulance post gives an "improper speculation" about the company. 

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