Jack Ma again endorses extreme overtime as online furor rages on


HONG KONG: Billionaire Jack Ma again encouraged tech workers to embrace the industry’s extreme-overtime culture, defying a growing social media backlash.

The Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder once more endorsed the sector’s infamous 12-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week routine as de rigueur for passionate young workers. 

In a lengthy Sunday blog post, China’s richest man expanded on comments from last week, in which he dismissed people who expect a typical eight-hour office lifestyle.

“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.”

Ma’s earlier comments stoked a fierce ongoing debate over tales of programmers and founders dying from unrelenting stress. 

Chinese tech workers protested labor conditions on the online code-sharing community GitHub in March under the banner 996.ICU, which quickly became the site’s most popular topic.

“Those who can stick to a 996 schedule are those who have found their passion beyond monetary gains,” he wrote Sunday. - Bloomberg

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