A social media post from a Pinduoduo software engineer, who claims he was fired after criticizing his work practices, has deepened the public relations crisis at China’s fastest growing e-commerce company.
A former employee whose last name is Wang posted a 15-minute video on Sunday evening, in which he alleged that Pinduoduo staff had to work 300 to 380 hours per month. That would amount to a longer work week than the controversial “996” approach that’s common in China’s tech industry, with workers scheduled to work 9am to 9pm, six days a week.
“In some teams. . . we’ll talk to you if you don’t work enough hours. The (Pinduoduo) grocery team at headquarters are required to work at least 380 hours per month and if you work less than that, you will be asked if you have enough to do, ”Wang said in the video. quickly went viral on Chinese social media. media.
“They lack consideration for the employees that other big tech companies have,” he added.
Mr. Wang alleged that he was fired on Friday after anonymously posting a photo of an ambulance outside the Pinduoduo headquarters the day before and tagging it: “A second martyr of Pinduoduo rocks.”
In the video, Mr. Wang claimed to be summoned to a conference room by Pinduoduo officials and asked to sign a voluntary resignation letter.
“I threw them the paper and told them to just fire me,” he said, adding that a group of managers had escorted him out of the building.
Pinduoduo has denied Mr. Wang’s allegations. He said he posted the photo of the ambulance and “inappropriate speculation,” but claimed he was fired due to other social media posts denigrating the company. Pinduoduo said the other allegations he made in the video were “not factual.”
Mr. Wang’s dismissal has been one of the most talked about topics on Weibo, the Twitter-like social media platform, generating more than 2 million likes.
A post by Pinduoduo defending his decision drew 240 million views. “I uninstalled you! I asked my mom to uninstall you !! I asked my sister to uninstall you! Said a popular reader comment.
The grueling work culture of China’s tech sector has been criticized in the past, with an “anti-996” campaign gain support last year among workers and activists.
The death of a Pinduoduo employee who collapsed late at night on her way home from work revived the debate last week. Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, said the country must “vigorously remove the distorted values behind” the overwork in the tech sector, and local authorities in Shanghai said they were investigating conditions in Pinduoduo .
Separately, a Pinduoduo employee nicknamed Tan committed suicide on Saturday by jumping from the 27th floor of a building in his hometown of Changsha. Mr. Tan joined the company in July and Pinduoduo said he requested time off the day before his suicide.
“We are deeply saddened to have lost one of our employees to suicide,” the company said.
Additional reporting by Nian Liu