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China HR managers fret about late nights

Written by: Staff
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SHANGHAI, June 7 (Reuters) Chinese human resources managers are biting their nails ahead of the World Cup, worried about the effect of successive late nights on their staff, a Shanghai newspaper said today.

China is six hours ahead of Germany, meaning many of the games which start on Friday will be shown live in the early hours of the morning.

''More than 70 per cent of those surveyed said they thought the World Cup would influence company business, while 20 per cent said they were nervous about the event's arrival,'' the Shanghai Daily said, quoting a survey conducted by ChinaHR.com, a leading headhunter.

China is becoming obsessed with football, a sport it has yet to conquer at the international level while its domestic league is rife with corruption.

It is also becoming big business, driven by such sporting pin-ups as England's David Beckham and Michael Owen, whose images grace billboards across the country.

''China has a massive number of football fans who will stay up to watch the matches, and I'm one of them,'' Premier Wen Jiabao told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her visit to Beijing last month.

One Qingdao-based company thinks it has the answer to keep its staff in line -- it will fine latecomers, the newspaper said.

Other firms have chosen a middle path -- either allowing workers to opt for flexitime or, in the case of a U.S. chemicals company, encouraging sales reps to watch the matches of their clients' countries, so allowing them to come in late the next day.

REUTERS AY HS1045

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