Embattled Chinese micro-lender Qudian has reportedly forced its employees to move to the southeastern city of Xiamen after relocating its headquarters from Beijing earlier this year.

At the end of September, the company told its Beijing-based employees that they would be required travel to Xiamen for two months, after which time they could return home to work in the country’s capital. However, after a month of arriving employees were informed that there was no longer an office in the country’s capital and that they could either work in Xiamen or leave the company, according to local media.

Qudian provided financial incentives for relocating and staying in the form of rental subsidies and a total of RMB 100,000 paid over a year. However, 40 people have reportedly already left. Employees are also seeking arbitration for what they deem to be unfair termination packages.

The company, which provides micro-loans to young users without access to traditional credit data, has had a troubling year since it went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Shortly after its IPO, media began questioning the sustainability, validity, and morality of its business. The lender was also accused of leaking user data after the personal information or almost one million students was found to be on sale. The data included names, addresses, phone numbers, loan size, and passwords for CHIS—the state-backed higher-education qualification verification institution in China.

In August, the company’s share price plunged after investors began to worry that Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial would not renew its partnership with Qudian, which gave the company access to potential borrowers through Alipay.

The company’s share price has fallen steadily since its 2017 IPO, dropping from $16.86 in March to $4.57 today (November 14). Its revenue for the quarter ending June 30 exceeded RMB 2.2 billion, up 124% year-on-year. It is expected to release its third-quarter results on November 21.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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