Tencent‘s highest front-end developer, Stone Hang, who had been with the company since 2005, was unexpectedly fired this January at the age of 47. The news, which was first reported on Xiaohongshu, a popular life-sharing platform in China, surprised many netizens. Huang’s wife revealed the notice from Tencent and emphasized that it was a “layoff” rather than a “retirement.”
The reasons cited for Hang’s dismissal were his failure to secure a management position and his unwillingness to be pushed into one. Many netizens are questioning why such a high-level expert was fired.
According to Tencent‘s official introduction, Hang was a “front-end development leader” who played an important role in Qzone, a social networking website during its most popular era.
Hang’s wife stated that he had worked long hours for many years, often leaving the house at 7:00 am and returning after 9:00 pm.
Despite the layoff, Hang has remained calm and optimistic. In response to questions about his dismissal, he stated that Chinese tech giants always leave enough room for the most senior experts, but the question is the size of the space. “No matter whether it is a tech giant or an expert, they don’t need to worry. If I have to, I should worry about when I can become a person like James Gosling OC [a Canadian computer scientist, best known as the founder and lead designer behind the Java programming language].”
In addition, in his wife’s view, Hang faced two challenges during his tenure at Tencent. Firstly, he missed a development opportunity brought about by the mobile era after the introduction of the iPhone. Secondly, he experienced a setback after the birth of his child.
His wife revealed that they have not yet achieved financial independence and that living in Shenzhen is expensive. At present, Hang has not accepted any job offers from other companies and is working as an individual developer, spending his time researching new technologies that he finds interesting.