Overtime makes people happy, says Ma

  • Overtime makes people happy, says Ma

Overtime makes people happy, says Ma

To survive at Alibaba Group you need to work 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Defending the 996 work time, the tech-giant founder referred to the fact that in the tech industry many people are unemployed or working in companies that are close to bankruptcy.

"If you find a job you like, the 996 problem does not exist; if you're not passionate about it, every minute of going to work is a torment", Ma said in a post on his Weibo account on Sunday.

This month, the activists at Microsoft's GitHub launched the 996.ICU project (996 intensive care), where workers named "Alibaba" as the company with some of the worst working conditions. "The mandatory enforcement of 996 overtime culture not only reflects the arrogance of business managers, but also is unfair and impractical".

Users uploaded screenshots of conversations in which they were asked to work late in the evening. If you don't do 996 when you're young, when can you do that?

The debate has spread across Chinese social media, where many users have criticized the tech industry's work culture as "inhumane".

Ma believes that following "996" contributes to the happiness of employees. "Their real needs should be considered".

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.

One user commented on the discussion forum Zhihu: "Most of today's companies are machines that can not stop running. The machine can not stop".

But in a speech to Alibaba staff on Thursday, Ma said the company expected people to be ready to work 12 hours a day since it had huge commitments to its clients.

"A load of nonsense, and didn't even mention whether the company provides overtime compensation for a 996 schedule", wrote one commenter on the Weibo post.

Ma's comments come after an opinion piece in Chinese state newspaper the People's Daily on Thursday argued on that 996 violate's the country's labor law.

Last week, a WeChat post attributed to JD.com founder Richard Liu Qiangdong, commenting on reports of the online retailer's plan to sack underperformers, said he would not consider "slackers" as his "brothers".

Mr. Ma, a former English teacher who co-founded Alibaba in 1999 and has become one of China's richest people, said he and early employees regularly worked long hours.