China’s “996” working hours are becoming the norm for many

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Chinese commuters - 996

It’s called the 996 life.

That’s working from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., six days a week, which is pretty common in Beijing.

People are trying to work their way up the career ladder while saving enough to put down payments on some of the most expensive apartments in the world.

So, is this pressure making Beijingers miserable? CGTN’s Nathan King followed one Beijing worker bee to find out.

China's "996" working hours are becoming the norm for many

China's "996" working hours are becoming the norm for many

It's called the 996 life. That's working from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., six days a week, which is pretty common in Beijing. People are trying to work their way up the career ladder while saving enough to put down payments on some of the most expensive apartments in the world. So, is this pressure making Beijingers miserable? CGTN's Nathan King followed one Beijing worker bee to find out.
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Wang Wei is more than a 996 worker – he works all week.

He leaves his small apartment at 6 a.m. riding the subway to work for over an hour. On the way, he tries to cram for the MBA he is studying – that’s of course when he can get a seat, which is rare.

Arriving at his job as a software engineer for a medical devices company, he puts in a ten to twelve-hour day.

He rarely sees his five-year-old son, Joy. The day we followed him, he picked him up Joy from kindergarten for only the second time this year.

Then it’s back to his small apartment, which he shares with his wife and in-laws who are necessary, live-in childcare.

Eating, then chores, and a quick game before bed, and then it’s the same again tomorrow.

Wang Wei is one of the millions here in Beijing and other cities around China who are working around the clock.

Recent studies show that Chinese work more than their western counterparts all in a bid to achieve the Chinese dream- and in Beijing that means buying your own apartment.