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Overtime makes people happy, says Ma

Alibaba founder tells employees that working from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week is a 'blessing,' as millions complain about a poor work/life balance.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma says he wants his employees to be ready to work 12 hours a day. In an internal communication he told staff: "Otherwise why come to Alibaba? We don’t lack people who comfortably work 8 hours."

The debate about overtime working, common in China’s Internet industries, went viral recently after project "996.icu" appeared on Microsoft's GitHub to protest at the "996" work schedule in many companies.

Millions of posts on China’s social networking sites, including Weibo and Zhihu, have since been complaining about "996.icu" (working from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week and ending up in an intensive care unit.)

Ma believes that following "996" contributes to the happiness of employees.

"In my opinion, doing 996 is a huge felicity as many companies or people even have no chance to do 996. If you don't do 996 when you're young, when can you do that? Do you think you would feel proud if you don't experience 996 in a lifetime?"

Ma added: "Everyone of us hopes to succeed and wants a better life and to be respected. But if you don't pay more effort and time than others, how can you achieve the success you want?"

For companies like China’s Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, "996" was "a kind of blessing," he said. 

His views were published on Alibaba's WeChat account on Friday.

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