The average “career round” of every employee in Silicon Valley – the US is 3.65 years, also in China’s high-tech “valley”, this figure is less than 2.6 years due to the overwhelming pressure. .
A young startup director said that because he was too worried about how to develop his company, he often lost sleep at night. Another female employee for work ready to break up with her boyfriend. A young couple without children revealed that they had no strength left to “bed” after a day of intense work.
There are thousands of young workers in China’s technology industry facing problems like Yu Haoran, a 26-year-old computer engineer, founder of start-up business Jisuanke in 2014, based at Zhongguancun high-tech center of Beijing, dubbed “China’s Silicon Valley”.
Yu worked nights and weekends to bring the company to teach children its programming from a group of 10 programmers to a company worth 200 million yuan ($ 29.8 million). However, the price he had to pay was chronic insomnia, while Yu only slept 2 hours a night.
“I have not really thought about enjoying life. Because I am building something, and before I finish it, there will be nothing else in my head,” Yu said.
According to the Hurun Report, in 2018, every week China gives birth to four new billionaires, in the context of technology becoming the biggest driving force for economic prosperity, followed by real estate. .
From every success story, there are thousands of people who want to be successful, longing for them to become a new Jack Ma, who brought Alibaba from a small business to own apartment to become a commercial giant. electronics of the world.
Once a graveyard for feudal eunuchs, Zhongguancun is located in the northwest of Ring Road 4, one of the important highways surrounding the capital of Beijing. In the past three decades, this place has witnessed the rise of a successful generation of technology companies and launched the Internet, from Lenovo computer manufacturer to Sina network newspaper and the application to call Didi cars. Chuxing. According to local government statistics, up to 80 technology startups were born in Zhongguancun every day.
In recent years, Zhongguancun has become more crowded and expensive, causing many large companies to move their headquarters to more remote areas, which are gradually becoming Beijing’s new technology centers. A center in Xierqi, northwest of the city, where big companies like Baidu, Sina, NetEase and Didi have built their headquarters. Another area in Wangjing, northeastern edge of Beijing, is now the headquarters of Meituan Dianping delivery company, Momo dating app and Alibaba Group’s regional headquarters.
The Chinese Post Office The morning spoke with technology workers working at Zhongguancun and many other high-tech parks in Beijing about their lives in China’s “Silicon Valley” where the headquarters of Many internet giants like Baidu, Meituan or ByteDance.
At Zhongguancun, young director Yu Haoran rented an office in a co-working space in the basement one of the office buildings. This position helped Yu to easily access the talented young graduates of nearby large Chinese institutes, such as Tsinghua University. The office was located only a few steps away from the two-bedroom apartment that Yu rented, where he had a folding bed for trainees to work overnight at the company.
Meanwhile, Yang, a 33-year-old Beijing resident, lives with his wife and parents, working as a product manager at an internet company in Xierqi. Every day he got up at 6 am to start the 2.5-hour journey, taking two subway lines and a bus route. “As soon as I sat down on the chair, I could sleep right away no matter how crowded the car was,” Yang said.
Yang’s wife, 29, is a product manager in Wangjing. When the two returned home after a long day of work, it was almost midnight. For many months they tried to have children but were too tired to talk about bedside. “I hope we can have children soon” – Yang worries when his wife turns 30 and becomes pregnant.
To avoid the nightmare of traveling, Bu, a marketing specialist, recently moved to the old apartment complex in Xierqi and only 10 minutes walk to work. She shared a 3-bedroom apartment with two other people, each paying 4,000 yuan (nearly 600 USD) per month for rent. Due to high demand, rental costs in Xierqi are even more expensive than her old apartment rental in Beijing’s Chaoyang District. Bu only had to cut down on his past pleasures such as coffee, restaurant and art exhibitions. “I feel like I’m exiled from Beijing,” Bu lamented.
Technology companies in China often want employees to work long hours to show their dedication, with the famous 996 formula: working from 9 am to 9 pm and 6 days per week.
ByteDance, the video application operator Tik Tok, based in Zhongguancun, applies the “big week / small week” policy, according to which most of their 6,000 employees work every week. work 6 days / week.
The boundary between work and private life is blotted out by the utilities that technology companies offer to employees such as meals and free shuttle, gym and hair salon right at the office, with many options. choose another entertainment. However, many Chinese technology workers still say they feel they are exploited.
“They want to solve all the problems in your life. That means, you don’t have to think about anything else, only work,” said a 26-year-old product manager Wang, who works at the “valley.” “Xierqi said silicon.
However, such benefits do not keep employees longer. The average working time of technology workers in the American Silicon Valley is 3.65 years, while in China only less than 2.6 years, according to data from Maimai. Even many cases of sudden death have occurred. In 2015, Li Junming, a developer working for social network Tencent, died suddenly while walking with his wife. A year later, Jin Bo, Tianya’s deputy secretary-general, suffered a cardiac arrest and died at a Beijing subway station. In 2018, a 25-year-old employee working for a DJI drone manufacturer in Shenzhen suddenly died of cardiac arrest.
By the end of 2018, many Chinese technology companies have announced plans to cut welfare, bonuses and jobs in the context of the fastest decelerating economy in nearly three decades. Ofo bike sharing company was founded in 2014 in Zhongguancun, has raised 2 billion USD through 9 fundraising campaigns in less than 4 years, now faces the cash crisis when thousands of users demand return deposits.
“Looking at China, local governments all favor investment, every city has its own technology centers, there are private business funds, but no one knows if they are really okay,” said Jelte. Wingender, senior director at Innoway, a government-sponsored business support fund in Zhongguancun, commented. In the future, Mr. Wingender thinks there should be fewer businesses, but “better and more focused”.
“One thing is that entrepreneurs don’t clearly define how to become a sustainable business. If you continue to work so many hours for 10 years, people will no longer have their own lives, they will not have children, they will go mad, “Wingender warned.
Yang is also worried about the future. With more than 10 years of experience, he currently holds a senior position at a leading internet company, but Yang knows he has “promoted the ceiling” to advance. He compares himself to a construction worker, who can make good money due to heavy work but is also easily replaced by younger people, with cheaper labor costs.