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13 April


Chinese suffer from overwork

Chronic sleep deprivation, fatigue and lack of life - consequences

Photo: SCMP

/NOVOSTIVL/ He is so focused on keeping his start-up alive that he can't sleep at night. She was asked in an interview if she would be willing to break up with her boyfriend for the job. A young couple want their own family but have no energy for sex after work. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post.

These are some of the struggles faced by the hundreds of thousands of young workers in China’s tech industry like Yu Haoran, a 26-year-old computer science major, who in 2014 founded Jisuanke, a start-up in Beijing’s hi-tech Zhongguancun district to teach kids coding.

Yu has worked nights and weekends to grow his business from a 10-coder team to one with a 200 million yuan (US$29.8 million) valuation thanks to venture capital backing. But the personal price he pays is chronic insomnia, sometimes getting just two hours of sleep every night.

“I haven’t really thought of living a life,” Yu said, referring to his entrepreneurial existence. “Because I’m building something, and before I finish it, there won’t be anything else on my mind.”

Last year China churned out four new billionaires every week, with technology being the biggest driver of new wealth, followed by real estate, according to the Hurun Report.

For every success story there are thousands of wannabes who toil away, hoping to be the next Jack Ma, who built Alibaba Group Holding, parent company of the South China Morning Post, from a business in his own apartment to the country’s e-commerce giant.