China's second-richest man says working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week is a "huge blessing".


How many hours do you work a week?

For employees of Chinese tech company Alibaba, the average working week consists of 72 hours.

That’s 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Yes, you really did read that right. Sounds… great, doesn’t it?

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Earlier this week, Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma expressed his support for working extensively long hours in the tech industry.

Speaking about Alibaba’s controversial ‘996 schedule’ – which involves working from 9am to 9pm six days a week – Ma claimed that working overtime is a “huge blessing”.

“I personally think that being able to work 996 is a huge blessing,” Ma wrote in a social media post.

“Many companies and many people don’t have the opportunity to work 996. If you don’t work 996 when you are young, when can you ever work 996?” he added.

Ma, who is the second-richest person in China, also said that working overtime is essential to a successful life.


“If you don’t want to put out more time and energy than others, how can you achieve the success you want?” he said.

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In the past, the former English teacher has also claimed that people not willing to work 996 shouldn’t bother applying to work at the tech company.

“If you want to work for Alibaba, you should be prepared to work 12 hours per day,” Ma said.

As expected, Jack Ma’s comments received a lot of backlash on social media.

In 2014, China Daily reported that more than half a million Chinese people die from overworking each year.

China Radio International also reported that 1,600 people per day have died from overworking, particularly in the media, advertising and IT industries.


Last months, activists on Microsoft’s code-sharing site GitHub created a discussion group called ‘996.ICU’. In the group, participants suggested that employees who worked to the 996 schedule frequently experienced intense burnout.

Since making his controversial statements, Ma has backtracked slightly on his comments.

“As I expected, my comments internally a few days ago about the 996 schedule caused a debate and non-stop criticism,” Ma wrote.

“I understand these people, and I could have said something that was ‘correct.’ But we don’t lack people saying ‘correct’ things in the world today, what we lack is truthful words that make people think.”

What do you think about Jack Ma’s comments? Let us know in the comments section.