Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has recently been criticized for endorsing the controversial 996 work culture, the work shift translated as working form 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. This is his first time wading into the debate over China’s long working hours earlier this month when he made comments to Alibaba employees about 996 work culture on the company’s Weibo account.
“I personally think 996 is a huge blessing,” he said. “How do you achieve the success you want without paying extra effort and time?” Ma added that any prospective employees of Alibaba should be prepared to work 12 hours a day if they want to succeed. “We don’t lack those who work eight hours comfortably,” said the tech tycoon.
Long working hours are not unique to high tech companies or start-ups in China. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has previously said he worked up to 120 hours per week when the electric vehicle maker struggled with production delays. “There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week,” he once posted on social media site Twitter. One of the employees starting the online protest against 996 work culture argued, “We just don’t want companies to think that ‘996’ is normal and those who don’t follow the norm should be condemned and considered as lazy.”