Jack Ma, founder of giant e-commerce Alibaba ( BABA ) spoke on social media in recent days in support of Chinese practice known as "996." The number refers to working from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week and is said to be common to major technology companies and start-ups of the country.
"If there are things we like, 996 is not a problem," Ma said on Sunday's blog post on the Chinese social media site Weibo. "If you do not like [your work] every minute is torture," he added.
Ma's comments trigger criticism from social media users in China.
"Have you ever wondered about elderly people in need of care, (or) children in need of a company?" wrote a Weibo user online moniker stupidcan1
23, in response to Ma's post. "If all businesses are implementing a schedule of 996, no one will have children" due to a lack of time, they added.
The Chinese state media also launched companies operating staff long hours in the office, without referring to Ma's post directly. "Promoting hard work and commitment does not mean overcoming an overtime," the state's People & # 39; s statement states in a commentary published on Sunday. "The mandatory implementation of 996 overtime culture not only reflects the pride of business administrators, but also unfair and impractical."
& # 39; Not just work at work & # 39;
Ma said that he did not want to defend the long-term performance, but he wanted "to pay tribute" to employees.
"The true 996 is not just an occupation of overtime," he says adding that everyone has the right to choose their own lifestyle but those who work for a shorter time "can not taste the happiness and rewards of hard work. "
Ma is arguably the most prominent Chinese entrepreneur. The tech tycoon was all born into a poor family and did not succeed academically. He started Alibaba with cash scraped together from friends.
The 54-year-old executive first bore debate over long work hours on Thursday when the comments he made to employees of Alibaba about 996 were posted on the company's Weibo account. Ma said that he had never been in trouble for 12-hour work.
"I personally think 996 is a great blessing," he said . "How do you achieve the success you want without paying extra effort and time?"
Ma added that any prospective employee of Alibaba, one of the largest tech companies around the world, should be ready to work 12 hours a day if they want to succeed. "Or why bothering to participate? We do not lack the comforts of eight hours," he said.
Other high-profile figures in China's tech industry have been reported to be defending the long working hours of the technology industry. Richard Liu, founder of Alibaba rival JD.com ( JD ) reported that criticized employees in the company did not work as "slackers."
A spokesperson for Alibaba did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Ma's social media posts or overtime company policy.
Long workdays in the high tech sector are not unique in China. Tesla ( TSLA )
Co-founder Elon Musk has previously said he worked up to 120 hours a week when the manufacturer of electric equipment production delay. "There are ways in which the places are easier to use, but nothing changes around the world at 40 hours a week," published
on social media site Twitter in November last year.