Chinese video-sharing app Kuaishou has asked all employees to work on every other Sunday starting Jan. 10, according to media reports.

Why it matters: The changes came as Beijing-based Kuaishou prepares for a Hong Kong listing as soon as January. The company is under tremendous pressure as it struggles to compete with rivals such as Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, and Bilibili in the online entertainment sector.

  • Chinese tech firms are known for encouraging or sometimes compelling employees into overtime work schedules. One schedule known as “996”— where employees work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, sparked a widespread online protest last year. 
  • Kuaishou’s new work schedule, known as “big/small weeks,” also triggered backlash on Chinese social media on Wednesday. The hashtag #KuaishouStartsBigSmallWeek became a trending topic on social media site Weibo with more than 12 million views. “The labor law never fails to give way to capitalists,” wrote one user.

Details: Kuaishou human resource head Liu Feng announced the new shift will be implemented beginning Jan. 10 during a staff meeting on Tuesday, Chinese tech news outlet Tech Planet reported Wednesday.

  • The South China Morning Post on Wednesday confirmed the news with two anonymous Kuaishou employees. 
  • Liu told Kuaishou staff that “a week starts on Sunday in the West” and that around 70% of the company’s employees had already adopted the big/small week schedule, according to Tech Planet. “For the sake of closer cooperation between all teams, Kuaishou will fully implement the big/small week schedule,” he told employees.
  • TechNode could not independently confirm Liu’s remarks. A Kuaishou representative did not respond to TechNode’s request for confirmation on Wednesday. Liu cannot be reached for comment.

Context: In November, Kuaishou was caught in the crossfire of public criticism after Chinese media reported that it had installed timers on top of toilets in its headquarters.

  • In November, Kuaishou filed to go public in Hong Kong. The company said it had amassed a total of 302 million daily active users as of June 30 with users spending over 85 minutes on average on its platforms.
  • Kuaishou recorded annual adjusted net profits from 2017 to 2019. However, it booked an adjusted net loss of RMB 6.3 billion (around $964 million) in the first half of this year.

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.