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The Toughest Boss, Snaps Home Office every 5 Minutes

Recently, Beijing’s pandemic prevention and control have entered a critical stage, among which Chaoyang District has required the entire district to implement a home office.

The Toughest Boss
The Toughest Boss

However, on this occasion, Suntech, the “first share in adult education”, was exposed to requiring employees to install computer monitoring software overnight, and they must automatically take screenshots every 5 minutes.

Radar Finance noticed that Suntech employees broke the news on multiple social platforms that if they failed to capture several times, all performance would be deducted, and leaders and HR would also deduct money.

Some employees even dared not go to the toilet during work because the company’s requirement to capture faces every 5 minutes was too tense, fearing that they would not be captured.

It is worth mentioning that the monitoring software that employees need to install only supports Windows systems and is not compatible with Apple computers, which makes employees using Apple computers have to install virtual machines to facilitate company monitoring.

The Toughest Boss
The Toughest Boss

“It’s not the first time that Suntech has done this. It was like this during the first wave of the pandemic in 2019.” Radar Finance noticed that some netizens said under the topic of #Suntechresponding to home surveillance employees, “You know that Suntech is profitable. Is it the secret to new highs? It’s all about squeezing employees to deduct performance.”

In response, Suntech said that due to the severe pandemic situation in Beijing and in response to the government’s instructions on employees working from home, in order to ensure employees’ work efficiency, the company has adopted emergency management measures for working from home during the pandemic, and with employees’ informed consent, The software is installed by the employees themselves for office work. During working hours, the software will randomly check the working status of employees. The telecommuting measures are currently in the trial operation stage. Personal time such as meals and breaks for employees is not part of working hours, and no random checks will be made.

According to public information, Suntech was established in 2003, mainly for the adult education market between the ages of 18 and 40; the company’s main business involves three major areas: vocational qualification certificate training, academic training and vocational skills training.

In June 2014, Suntech completed the comprehensive transformation from the traditional offline teaching mode to the online education mode. At the same time, the company established a distinctive teaching operation mode of “large class live class + class teacher”.

From 2016 to 2018, Suntech maintained an annual revenue growth of more than 100%, and successfully landed on the US stock market in 2018. On the first day of listing, the company opened at US$13.1, up 13.9% from the issue price, and its market value once exceeded US$2 billion.

But at the same time, Suntech has always been unable to get rid of the loss situation year after year. From 2015 to 2020, the company’s accumulated net loss attributable to the parent exceeded 3.2 billion yuan. And this is the overall dilemma faced by online education.

In the opinion of a person who has been concerned about the education field for a long time, the adult education industry is already large and scattered, and the groups it covers are mostly short-term study for the purpose of examination and verification, and the relative repurchase rate is low. It is inevitable to fall into the advertising war with competitors, and it is difficult to change the status quo of the relatively high proportion of students dropping out.

On this basis, many institutions will exaggerate the effect of the course when promoting and recruiting students, posting words such as “no refunds”, “covering the certificate”, or even fictitious certificates or information to attract students. Suntech is also one of them, and the number of complaints the company has received has grown rapidly in recent years.

The Toughest Boss
The Toughest Boss

According to statistics from Radar Finance and Economics at 315.00 this year, Suntech’s complaints on the Black Cat Complaint Platform rank among the top among all adult online education institutions, reaching 26,044, almost 10,000 more than Tanzhou Education, which ranks second.

Today, the number of complaints from Suntech has increased to 27,889. This means that in the past 57 days, the Suntech organization has had an increase of 1,845 complaints, an average of 32 more complaints per day. Many netizens have affixed three labels to Suntech: difficult refunds, routine loans, and false advertisements.

Suntech, which has been frequently caught up in public opinion turmoil, has not only been named by CCTV many times but has also been named and notified by regulatory authorities in Beijing, Hubei, and other places and given corresponding administrative penalties.

As of May 10, the company’s stock price has fallen by more than 98% from its initial high, and the current market value is only $32.57 million.

Among them, on the past May 10, Suntech Education opened at $3.02 and suddenly fell nearly 8% after 2 and a half hours, triggering the circuit breaker for the first time. After the resumption of trading, Suntech fell and rose sharply again, triggering circuit breakers four times, and fell nearly 26% during the session, and the stock price hit a new low in nine months. As of the close, Suntech fell 18.87% in a single day to $2.45.

It is worth noting that in early May, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just announced that 88 Chinese concept stocks will be added to the “pre-delisting” list, and 7 education companies including Suntech are also on the list.

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Nancy Huang
I'm a journalist in Shenzhen, China. I have been working in several news agencies in China since 2008.


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