Digitally China Podcast: The Inside Story of China’s Viral 996 Protests

Background to the recent 996 overtime scandal in China's tech startup industry, including interviews with people behind the viral 996.ICU GitHub protest

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11:43 PM HKT, Thu April 11, 2019 1 mins read

Digitally China is a bi-weekly podcast from RADII hosted by Tom Xiong and Eva Xiao, and produced by Jacob Loven. On each episode, the team will tackle a different timely tech-related topic, providing key insights on all you need to know about the fast-changing nature of innovation in China. Find previous episodes of Digitally China here and subscribe on iTunes here.

Recently, a leaked email from Chinese ecommerce giant has made headlines in Chinese press and overseas as being one of the most concrete examples of the “996 culture” of certain tech companies in China. 996 is the idea that employees should work 9am-9pm, six days a week. Among other things, the leaked email indicates that people working less overtime should be fired.

In this episode of Digitally China we try to figure out how widely spread 996 is, how it impacts people, and what effect the recent backlash will have.

To understand the culture of working overtime in tech and how it is different from other industries, we interviewed contributors of the recently famous 996.ICU project on GitHub, Xu Ming and Xiao Yang.


Topics covered in this episode of Digitally China include:

  • The background of 996
  • How 996 in tech is different compared to other industries
  • How widely spread is 996?
  • The recent criticism of 996, going viral on GitHub
  • How the Chinese tech industry might change going forward

Hosts Eva Xiao and Tom Xiong
Guests Xu Ming and Xiao Yang
Producer Jacob Lovén

Listen to the latest Digitally China episode below or find it (and previous episodes) on iTunes here.

Cover photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

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