6. The history of Zhongguancun, China’s Silicon Valley, explained. (Wired $)
7. A Chinese state-owned bank in Hong Kong is enticing new clients from the mainland with the possibility of getting mRNA vaccine shots. (Financial Times $)
Lost in translation
The new year is for new changes, and as Chinese tech publication Baobian reported, many Chinese Big Tech workers are quitting the industry and reflecting on how they ended up working pointless “bullshit jobs.”
Even though the country’s tech industry is relatively young, these companies, like their Western counterparts, have grown into gigantic corporations burdened with bureaucracy and low efficiency. A main source of frustration for staffers is feeling that they are spending months working on insignificant product changes that could be vetoed at the last minute. For example, making a simple UI design change requires two weeks of opposition research, and there’s little originality in the final product. Some workers also feel they are losing their individual purpose while helping the company optimize its money-making machinery.
Luyi, who worked for Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance in different positions, felt that she was chasing abstract numbers based on unreliable data analytics, and ultimately achieving nothing. Last year, she finally decided to quit the tech industry and went to work for an art gallery in Beijing. “When I successfully organize an art exhibit, there’s an immense sense of achievement. I can get a lot of positive feedback on the scene,” she said. That’s the feeling she was missing when she worked in Big Tech.
One more thing
To celebrate the transition from the Year of the Tiger to the Year of the Rabbit, a zoo in western China organized a ceremony on Friday in which a tiger cub and a rabbit were placed on the same table. But the video was promptly cut when the tiger went for the rabbit’s neck, the correspondent began shouting in panic, and the scene descended into chaos. Fortunately, the rabbit was reportedly unharmed. Otherwise it would have been a terrible omen for the new year.