Baidu PR chief exits after row over work culture comments

Adgully Bureau |

Qu Jing, head of communications at Chinese search engine giant Baidu, has reportedly left the company following a public backlash against her views on work culture.

Qu sparked outrage with a series of online videos where she appeared dismissive of employee well-being. In the videos, she:

Claimed she wasn't responsible for employee happiness, stating, "I'm not their mom."

Prioritized results over employee well-being.

Described the employer-employee relationship as purely transactional.

Threatened to sabotage the careers of employees who complained.

Criticized an employee for refusing a lengthy business trip during COVID restrictions.

These comments fueled existing discontent with China's demanding work culture, known as "996" (working 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week). Qu's remarks gained traction on social media, with many criticizing her lack of empathy.

Following the controversy, Qu apologized publicly, admitting her comments caused "serious harm" and did not reflect Baidu's values. However, reports suggest she has since left the company.

Qu's departure highlights the growing pushback against grueling work hours in China, particularly among young people. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of company leaders fostering a positive and supportive work environment.