Health app founder dies at 44

Central Station | 19 Oct 2016

The premature death of the 44-year-old founder of a prominent mobile health app has spurred a bout of soul-searching among Chinese techies, where working long hours in the hope of making a quick fortune has become a way of life.

Zhang Rui, chief executive of startup Chunyu Doctor, died from a heart attack this month. In 2011, he founded Chunyu, which allows online consultations with doctors, skipping waits at overcrowded public hospitals.

For a few months when Chunyu was first founded, it sometimes required a so- called "996 schedule" - Chinese slang for working from 9am to 9pm six days a week.

People who work for more than 55 hours a week face an increased risk of stroke and heart disease compared to those working standard hours of 35 to 40 a week, according to a study in medical journal The Lancet a year ago.

A May UBS poll showed Hong Kong topped the world with the longest working hours per week, more than 50.

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