Billionaire Jack Ma, the co-founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, found himself in hot water after he vouched for the rigorous ‘996’ working hours. In a Weibo post, Jack termed China’s ‘996’ work culture —referring to 12 hours shift from 9 AM to 9 PM, 6 days a week, a ‘blessing’.
“How do you achieve the success you want without paying extra effort and time?,” the Chinese billionaire said in the post, according to a report in The Indian Express. He further said that ‘any prospective employees looking to work at Alibaba should be prepared for long hours’.
Jack Ma’s comments did not go down well with netizens, who dubbed it “slave culture”.
— jimmy e (@jimmyaeee) April 15, 2019
— Wes Dixon (@WesDixon) April 12, 2019
How would you fancy working “12 hours daily for 6 days a week”
Is #Jackma in a time warp? Surely technological advances ought to have improved our productivity !?
— Achyut Menon (@achyutmenon) April 17, 2019
lol i know hard work will pay off but this guy is nuts. preaching inspirational career wisdom on the one hand, then promoting work-life imbalance on the other. nope! #livelife #capitalistgreed #jackma https://t.co/G6zuSSTkCI
— Jezriel Mangali (@JezrielMangali) April 16, 2019
While Jack calls it a blessing various research across the world has found that long working hours need not be deemed as productive. According to a report by Ohio University, the countries like Sweden have 6-hours working a day and are more productive than the US, which has an 8-hour working policy.
According to a report by Business Insider, Japan’s work culture is so rigorous that the word “karoshi” which translates to “death by overwork” was invented in 1970. Karoshi refers to people committing suicide or suffering from heart strokes due to long working hours. The increasing ‘Karoshi’ cases led the government to bring in policies to reduce the working hours.
Jack’s comment comes at a time when most people are discussing ways to strike a work-life balance.