One of the more engaging stories to emerge from the China tech scene in recent weeks is the “996.ICU” movement. Workers in Chinese tech companies have begun expressing their displeasure with a company culture that demands 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. workdays, six days per week. The “ICU” tag comes from an oft-repeated joke that the grueling work schedule has landed some workers in the intensive care unit.

Frustration with a working style that many view as unsustainable has been a theme in China’s tech community for years. However, with slowing economic growth and venture capital increasingly difficult to access, many firms have been forced to lay off staff or reduce positive incentives for employees. Worse rewards and less security seems to have pushed some tech workers to the tipping point, inspiring the viral campaign.

996.ICU took off as a repository on Github, the collaborative software development platform that helps developers store, manage, track and control changes to their code.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Elliott Zaagman

Elliott Zaagman is a contributor to TechNode. He is also a corporate trainer, executive coach, and writer who splits his time between Bangkok and Beijing. He focuses on Chinese companies and how they relate...