Chinese Young Adults Are Quitting Their Jobs To Become ‘Full-Time Children’

REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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Some Chinese young adults are quitting their jobs to become full-time adult children as the country’s economy worsens, the Australian outlet ABC reports.

Zhang Jiayi, 31, decided to become a “full-time daughter” after her clothing company, started in 2020, failed and business kept “getting harder every year,” according to the outlet. She looks after her parents in return for a monthly salary of the equivalent of $1,600.

“The amount of time and effort I was putting in was disproportionate to [the profitability], and it felt like there was no hope in sight.” (RELATED: ‘Dead-End’: China May Be On The Verge Of A Major Debt Crisis, Experts Say)

“I go for morning exercise with my parents after getting up. I do Tai Chi with my mum as she has been learning it. My parents love travelling, so I make plans for them. When they have troubles with digital devices, I would also help them,” she said, the outlet noted.

A popular trend on social media, these adults think of themselves as employees of their parents. “Full-time Children’s Work Exchange Centre,” is a Reddit page that the outlet reports has more than 4,000 members.

Widty Shang chose to become a “full-time son” earlier this year despite his education at one of China’s most prestigious universities. Shang wanted to spend time with his sick grandmother and his parents. He also said that the workload in the economy was unsustainable, as he was forced to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or even 10 p.m., five days a week, an amount he considered “okay-ish” compared to his colleagues, the outlet reported.

“After my energy wears out, I’ll probably be replaced by someone younger. Work is just a means to live, not the purpose of life,” he said, the outlet reported.

“Those who are poorer have no possibility of surviving unless they work like hell,” Xu Chenggang, a senior research scholar at the Stanford Centre on China’s Economy and Institutions, said, the outlet noted.

“It will be a long-term phenomenon that a large number of young people will be unable to find work. Many young people would face basic survival problems.”

China’s economic growth has failed to return to pre-pandemic levels. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 6.3% in 2023, increasing only 0.8% compared to the first quarter.