996 in retreat? · TechNode


First it was one Tencent gaming studio. Then it was Kuaishou. Then ByteDance and Meituan’s groceries division in one week. In the last month, we’ve seen three major Chinese tech firms abolish weekend work after years of popular criticism of “996 culture.” (None of these companies had been on the actual 996 schedule of 9 a.m.-9 p.m., six days a week).

The change comes amid a fad for a dropout style known as tangping—“lying down.” At least some young people are looking for alternatives to the corporate rat race.

The last time this column wrote about overwork, our headline was “Why 996 just won’t go away.” Are things turning around? Is it time to imagine that you can work at a Chinese tech major and—just maybe—have a life?

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Capucine Cogné graduated as a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in 2019. Her thesis used French MNCs as a case study for why multinational companies establish R&D institutes in China.