Local governmental authorities confirmed that they are investigating Hangzhou-based Youzan, which helps online merchants establish, operate, manage, and promote their WeChat stores. The probe was launched after the company drew harsh criticism for demanding staff to follow what is known as the 996 routine.
“996” refers to the practice of starting the work day at 9:00 a.m., leaving the office at 9:00 p.m., and working six days a week. It is a system often followed by those who are part of the Chinese internet industry.
Authorities said that the investigation is still underway, and that Youzan will be punished according to local labor law if the company is found to have made illegal demands of their employees for overtime work. However, legal experts have indicated that the penalty for breaching this law only includes a warning and a possible fine.
Editor: Brady Ng