China's richest man expects staff to work 72 hours every week

China's richest man expects staff to work 72 hours every week

Hong Kong - Jack Ma, billionaire and founder of Alibaba, has tried to defend the long overtime work that exists in many Chinese technology companies, including his, calling it "a huge blessing" for young people, Reuters reports.

For companies like China's Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, "996" was "a kind of blessing", he said. He went on to call the opportunity to work 996 hours a "blessing". If you don't work 996 when you are young, when can you ever work 996?'

This month, activists on Microsoft's GitHub Inc., the online code repository site, launched a project titled "996.ICU" where tech workers listed Alibaba among the companies ranked as having some of the worst working conditions.

Beyond Ma, several of China's most prominent industry figures have also weighed in on the controversy.

The e-commerce entrepreneur was weighing in on a growing debate around work-life balance that has emerged among Chinese tech employees in recent weeks. He said that dedication was vital to the company's success. "But if you don't pay more effort and time than others, how can you achieve the success you want?" In an editorial on Sunday the People's Daily said: "Employees who object to 996 can not be labelled as "slackers" or "not fighters". Burnout is one predictable side effect of working 12-hour days, six days a week, and studies have shown that overwork like the type Ma is promoting is killing people. "One should not attach the moral labels of "slackers" or "not willing to strive" to employees who are against 996".

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Ma is not alone in his advocacy for overtime.

The comments regarding the Chinese tech giant who said that Alibaba needs workers prepared to work 996 continued on social networks. Companies that try to force such practices are "foolish" and doomed to fail, he said. "Not only is it inhumane, it's unhealthy and even more unsustainable for long periods - plus workers, relatives and the law do not approve of it", he said.

"The people who stick to 996 must have found their passion there, and their happiness besides from money".

Ma took to social media recently to voice his support of China's intense work culture known as "996", which refers to working from 9 a.m.to 9 p.m., six days a week. On Thursday, a Chinese newspaper published an article claiming that "996" violated the Chinese Labor Law, which states that the weekly working hours must not exceed 40 hours.

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