Zhihu is a Quora-like question-and-answer website in China. A user recently posted a question that attracted widespread attention amid the country’s harshest ongoing lockdown. The question is “Are there really a lot of bankruptcies and job losses for private companies this year? I often hear people around me say that they are unemployed. I want to know if it is true?”.

As of writing, the question received almost 7,300 followers, and more than 11 million views.

There are nearly 700 answers to this question.

One reply from a businessman received over 3800 likes. He said that from his own experience, there is no hope of working out these days. His family runs a traditional textile fabric factory. Almost all of its products were heading for export. The epidemic and the war in Ukraine have taken a heavy toll on his businesses.

During 2018 and 2019, his company’s sales hit about 90 million yuan (or 13 million dollars). However, since the outbreak, the sales plunged and the business suffered steady losses. The family has been planning to close some workshops to ease the pressure. He had many things to say, but he said he would cry if he said too much.

Another reply with more than 4,300 likes is from a female user named Lumin Garden. Lumin Garden worked in the trade business. Her Shanghai-based company is a typical super-micro one with only ten employees. So far, six people have been laid off, and 1 of 3 offices has been closed. Companies with no background and no relationship with the official have suffered the most. The majority of them are private enterprises.

The owner of a small business with an annual turnover of 10 million yuan (1.4 million dollars) also joined in. He said his answer could mark an end to his first business venture. He has a marketing and design company with seven years of operation. The company has around 30-40 people. He also posted some pictures and graphs to show how bad his business is. He said he felt powerless, and no words can describe his pain. He got more than 1,300 likes.

Receiving almost 2,700 likes, a businessman with the nickname PHD Pie said the time of China’s real bankruptcy tide has not yet come. With the current lockdown of Shenzhen and Shanghai, and the worsening situation in Beijing in the past few days, PHD Pie said the inertia of the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises will slowly come.

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