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How China's tech companies can keep staff working '996'

Employees made to feel like co-founders are willing to embrace long hours

| China
An employee takes a nap inside the headquarters of Alibaba Group Holding: leading companies in China have kept their startup cultures.   © Reuters

Western executives often talk about using data to determine what the market wants and then delivering it. Chinese executives, by contrast, talk about delivering new products to market as quickly as possible.

The Chinese approach looks a lot like the "lean startup" approach popularized by Silicon Valley author and entrepreneur Eric Ries. In his model, an entrepreneur makes assumptions about market demand, tests each assumption with mock-up products and if the market loves a prototype, the company builds and delivers the actual product.

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