Oct 10, 2016

    China's IT industry staff work themselves to death


    THE rapidly developing Internet technology sector - whose employees are often under heavier pressure than other sectors - is once again in the spotlight following the sudden premature death of the founder of one of China's leading digital medical care service providers.

    Zhang Rui, 44, chief executive of, an online platform that provides medical care services such as advice and diagnoses, died of a heart attack last week, according to an obituary released by the company on Thursday.

    The platform, established in 2011, has 92 million registered users and nearly 500,000 registered doctors from major hospitals across China.

    They provide answers to 330,000 questions online every day, according to the company.

    Mr Zhang started his career as a journalist and became an executive of NetEase, an IT firm that runs one of China's biggest news portals, before setting up

    The death has aroused heated public attention, with many showing astonishment.

    The obituary posted on the company's WeChat account had been read by more than 100,000 people as of Friday.

    Mr Zhang had been under very heavy work pressure in the past few years. He was under constant tension over fear of the company failing, causing mental and physical distress, according to media reports.

    White-collar workers in the IT industry in China on average worked 9.3 extra hours every week, the most among all sectors, according to a survey last year by, a job-hunting website in China.

    Mr Zhang is among a list of people working in IT-related sectors who have recently died.

    Jin Bo, a 34-year-old editor at, a popular online forum, died of a sudden heart attack at a subway station in Beijing in June.

    In December, Li Junming, an employee of Tencent, fainted and died while walking with his pregnant wife.

    Some of his colleagues said his death was partly attributable to the fact that he had been kept working overtime.