Pinduoduo’s troubles deepen after second worker dies

Written by Song Jingli Published on 

The social commerce firm is being criticized for its long working hours.

As Shanghai authorities have yet to disclose results of an investigation into Chinese e-commerce company Pinduoduo following the sudden death of a 22-year-old employee after midnight work, the social commerce platform has come under new scrutiny.

Pinduoduo said on Saturday that an employee named as Tan Moulin committed suicide at his home in Changsha. The firm further said that Tan passed the company’s probation period on December 30 with an average performance score of 80 out of 100 and that the person had booked a return flight to Shanghai for the afternoon of January 9. Pinduoduo has opened a mental consultancy channel for all of its employees.

Meanwhile, front-end software developer Wang Taixu took to workplace sharing platform Maimai, showing his concerns a different incident at the Shanghai headquarters where an employee has been rushed to the hospital with an ambulance, sharing a photo of what happened. He later recorded a 15-minute video that went viral on social media platforms including Bilibili and Weibo on Sunday, in which he explained that he had since been fired.

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Wang said he was summoned on Friday to see supervisors and HR employees, who asked him to resign voluntarily. As he refused to do so, he was escorted out of the building, all of which happened within 30 minutes.

On Monday, Pinduoduo told KrASIA in a written statement that it terminated the employment with Wang not because of the post, but since he was found making multiple extremist comments “with very apparent ill intentions,” which broke the internal code of conduct. Tracking down its posts, the company found comments such as “I just want Pinduoduo to die” and “hopefully Alibaba’s logistics can kill Pinduoduo’s J&T Express to spread its bone ashes.”

Pinduoduo further said that at the moment of his posting facts on the incident were not clear, resulting in information which could harm the company. The firm later confirmed on Maimai that the employee was suffering from an enterospasm, a painful, intense contraction of the intestine, but didn’t inform its own staff about it, according to Wang.

On accusations related to the overwork problem, Pinduoduo said that it does not use a “Benfen calculator,” which refers to an internal measurement system, to check how many hours its personnel is working. The company however didn’t respond to a specific question on whether it asked its staff to work 300 hours per month, as Wang claimed.

(The article has been updated with additional information from a Pinduoduo spokesperson.)


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