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Pinduoduo Worker’s Death Spurs Investigation, Online Furore

  • Female employee died while on the way home, company says
  • Death renewed scrutiny of China tech’s 996 work culture
Pingduoduo CEO and Founder Colin Huang Interview
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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Chinese authorities began a probe into working conditions at Pinduoduo Inc. following the death of an employee in her early 20s that renewed criticism of the long hours commonly practiced at China’s tech companies.

The e-commerce company confirmed that a female employee collapsed while walking home with colleagues at 1:30 a.m. last Tuesday. The employee, who was born in 1998 and joined Pinduoduo in July 2019, could not be resuscitated and died after nearly six hours of first aid, according to a statement. Her death sparked a social media backlash against Pinduoduo and the relentless working schedules expected of its workers, prompting district officials at the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau to commence an investigation.