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China tech

Tencent ramps up hiring to meet stay-at-home demand

WeChat Work telecommuting app sees 15% gain in new users

The expansion of telecommuting in China has spurred demand for related online applications.

GUANGZHOU -- Chinese internet services company Tencent Holdings will boost mid-career hires by more than 25% this year to meet demand linked to telecommuting necessitated by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The increase would translate to a few thousand mid-career recruits. The company will also take on about 3,000 college interns this spring, around the same number as the normal year. 

"This year's conditions are significantly different," a Tencent spokesperson said. "Demand for people who can provide services linked to infection prevention efforts is significant."

Tencent's business-communication platform, WeChat Work, saw a 15% rise in new users between the end of January and early February, according to Chinese tech services firm MobTech.

In addition to more staff for WeChat Work, the company is also looking to fill positions in telemedicine and online classes catering to children.

Although Chinese ecompanies are gradually resuming operations, many people still choose to work from home out of fear of infection.

With people refraining from going out, demand for gaming and video streaming has taken off. Bytedance, the Chinese startup behind the video sharing app TikTok, will reportedly hire over 6,000 people this year, including college interns.

China's tech industry, however, does not seem ready to accept an increase in fixed costs given the fallout from the outbreak.

"Several of my colleagues were given the axe," said a Shanghai resident who works for a major tech company. "The coronavirus has dialed up pressure on the company to cut costs."

While companies are eager to secure talent that can be instantly deployed to meet rising demand, they are also inclined to reduce highly compensated employees.

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