JD is offering emergency shelter to staff forced to evacuate following the government’s fire safety crackdown. Thousands of tenants, mostly migrant workers, are being evicted from unlicenced developments in Beijing after a fire in Daxing suburb killed 19 people, including children. Reports on the 40-day evacuation are now largely censored on the mainland but consequences such as lack of low-paid workers and interrupted courier deliveries make it hard to smother the news.

JD employees said that the company notified them to apply for staff dormitory in the case that their residence must change and they cannot find a suitable location. JD has also offered certain assistance for moving and rent costs, including the free use of company vehicles.

A message received by JD staff offering support for moving out of Beijing's suburbs hit by fire safety crackdown.
A message received by JD staff offering support for moving out of Beijing’s suburbs hit by the municipal fire safety crackdown.

At the beginning of November, JD founder Liu Qiandong (AKA Richard Liu) stated during a lecture in Thailand that the average wage of Jingdong couriers was 50% higher than that of the same industry. He also stressed that the JD courier requirements are very strict: if they receive two complaints within one year they can expect a layoff even if the customer was unreasonable.

However, it is worth mentioning that JD is currently engulfed in a PR war with Alibaba and that the latest move certainly won’t hurt their image. Alibaba has accused JD of spreading rumors about the company’s monopolization of e-commerce trade and promoting the idea of a government-led antitrust probe into key its platform Tmall along with third-party research institution ChinaLabs. JD struck back with its own accusations of an organized media attack and announced judicial procedures.

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.

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