Weibo insights: do ordinary people support Jack Ma’s working standards?

The speech of one of the most influential businessmen shook and divided not only the Chinese, but the globe


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According to data from the American channel CNBC,  Chairman of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma, introduced the whole world to his ideas on his ideal employee work week. 

Jack Ma believes that working 6 days per week from 9 am to 9 pm is an optimal working schedule that can bring a start-up company to the next level and boost its economic growth. For short, he calls it “996”. 

However, not all Chinese citizens agreed to stay at work late. Not long after, the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily responded that the average working time has to be limited to 40 hours a week. Such a “hardworking behavior” of 996 would be a violation of the law.

 Traditional Chinese society & working hours

Older generations tend to be more supportive of group benefits over individual values. This explains why people in their 30-s and 40-s might accept lower wages and be ready to work overtime as they seek stability in their lives. 

In addition, the traditional vertical structure and hierarchy of Chinese companies establish immeasurable respect for their bosses. In this environment, saying “no” to a proposal to work extra hours would mean losing their job. 

What does Weibo audience say about 996?

As a former teacher and successful businessman, Jack Ma aims to share his knowledge and advice for success to a broad audience. Thus, Ma advises the youngsters to keep up with 996 if they want to achieve a lot in their careers. However, the reaction of his advisees is extremely mixed.

“If an ordinary person does the “996”, what can he can achieve? Not everyone is like Jack Ma. I think he is blessed, but I don’t have that much talent. So, increasing working hours will not improve that”, — thinks one Weibo user.

Other comments also mention the obvious drawbacks of the workaholic way of life. Users claim that the lack of free time won’t let them care for their parents or develop personal relationships.

What do you personally think of 996 working schedules? Share your opinion in comments!


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