Online shops sell year-end reports

Updated: 2011-12-31 08:16

By Xing Yu (China Daily)

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White-collar workers go to Taobao to pass burden onto ghost writers

BEIJING - Want to impress your boss by presenting a year-end work report?

You can now buy one with a click of a mouse.

With the new year just around the corner, ghost writers are getting a bowl full of requests to write work reports for white-collar employees.

Online shops sell year-end reports
Take the case of Solwa, which is the name that an owner of an online ghost-writing business goes by on, the largest online-shopping website in China. Solwa, who declined to give his real name, said the demand for writing work reports has been strong since the start of December.

Wang Zhenshan, another ghost writer, said he receives from six to seven report orders on average each day.

A search for "writing year-end work reports" on taobao yielded more than 602 results.

Solwa's shop charges from 50 yuan to 90 yuan (from $8 to $14) for writing 1,000 words, the final amount depending on the difficulty of the work. Reports that require professional knowledge cost more.

Those who make purchases on taobao can rate the products and services they receive, and their aggregated opinions can be seen by others on the site. In the past month, Solwa received 187 responses in total, all of them rating the service as "good".

One buyer said: "They (the ghost writers) did a much better job than I could have."

Besides work reports, some Internet users are seeking ideas for the plays they are sometimes asked to write to entertain their colleagues at year-end parties.

A search on taobao for "writing a play for an annual work party" generated more than 500 results.

Zheng Xiaojuan, a 25-year-old woman working at Bank of China, said she has racked her brains to come up with a short drama that can be performed at her department's New Year's party.

She said she hopes she can find someone to provide her with a scenario.

Zheng's friend told her that she could buy one on taobao. The only trouble is that she was asked to produce a work having to do with her department.

"I don't think that they could do very well at that, since they don't know what we go through every day," Zheng said. "As for the work reports, I have doubts about them too. How could they write them without having the experiences?"

Solwa said his company declines to produce certain reports.

"We do not write reports about professional work that we don't know anything about," he said.

And there are other concerns. Buyers of the reports are often asked to provide information about their work to make the results more credible, a practice that has given rise to fears that personal information or corporate secrets will be leaked.

"For me, it's not right to get a summary report in this way," said Tang Hongxin, an attorney at Yingke Law Firm in Beijing.

"If some people really don't want to write these reports, it's better for them to have written agreements with the writers providing this service, stipulating that the information provided can only be used for the purposes of the writing. That would let the buyer sue the service provider if any personal information were used for something else."