Saturday, May 18, 2024

I’m not your mum! Chinese tech chief quits after berating her staff for daring to moan about working 12-hour shifts with only one day off a week

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  • Qu Jing, the vice-president of Baidu posted berating videos on social media

A Chinese tech executive who faced a social media backlash after telling staff grumbling about long hours ‘I’m not your mum’ has now quit.

Baidu vice-president and head of public relations Qu Jing had posted several videos on social media addressing employees.

‘I can make you jobless in this industry,’ said Ms Qu in one clip as she warned staff that she needed their dedication and did not care if it impacted their personal lives.

‘I’m not your mum,’ she said. ‘I only care about results.’

Baidu is one of China‘s largest tech companies, running the country’s leading search engine, and is often seen as the country’s equivalent to Google.

Baidu vice-president and head of public relations Qu Jing berated staff in ranting videos on social media

Baidu is one of China 's largest tech companies and is a leading search engine similar to Google

Baidu is one of China ‘s largest tech companies and is a leading search engine similar to Google 

But her comments hit a raw nerve with young workers fed up with long hours and relentless pressure. 

Chinese tech companies are notorious for long working hours, with employees expected to do the ‘996’. This means they start work at 9am, leave at 9pm and work six days a week.

Ms Qu has now left the company. In a series of short videos posted last week on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, she had spoken about her devotion to her career, strict management style and unflagging demands on subordinates.

She criticised one for not wanting to work weekends, and dismissed a complaint that her late-night work messages kept up one of her employee’s crying children.

In one clip the tech boss said 'I can make you jobless in this industry,'. Her comments have infuriated young workers who do long hours, often working six days a week

In one clip the tech boss said ‘I can make you jobless in this industry,’. Her comments have infuriated young workers who do long hours, often working six days a week

The vice-president and head of public relations has now quit after her remarks came to light

The vice-president and head of public relations has now quit after her remarks came to light

In another clip she declared: ‘If you work in public relations, don’t expect weekends off. Keep your phone on 24 hours a day, always ready to respond.’

Douyin users accused Ms Qu of an aggressive and insensitive approach and of promoting a toxic workplace.

On Thursday, she apologised on social media for causing ‘external misunderstandings about Baidu’s values and culture’. 

‘Many of the criticisms are very pertinent, I am reflecting deeply and humbly accept them,’ she said. ‘There are many inappropriate [things said] in the video that caused external misunderstandings about the company’s values and corporate culture, causing serious harm. I sincerely apologise.’

It is understood she stepped down from Baidu hours later.

Baidu did not respond to a request for comment. Ms Qu could not be reached.

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