Alibaba Group founder and billionaire Jack Ma again weighed in on the Chinese tech industry’s grueling overtime work culture on Sunday, this time calling enforced long hours “unsustainable.”
Ma’s comment followed his remarks on Thursday that working overtime could be a “huge blessing” for young workers who found careers they were dedicated to.
He was responding to a debate that has emerged in recent weeks among Chinese tech workers over the 996 schedule, which means working from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, six days a week.
Industry workers set up a discussion group called “996.ICU” on the code-sharing platform GitHub, suggesting that anyone working those hours all the time could end up in a hospital intensive care unit with burnout.
“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.
Not only is it inhumane, it’s unhealthy and even more unsustainable for long periods – plus workers, relatives and the law do not approve of it,” he said.