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Working over time is a Blessing” – Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma

Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma makes speech during ‘Back to the Classroom’ event as part of the Jack Ma Rural Teacher Award Ceremony on January 13, 2019 in Sanya, Hainan Province of China

Alibaba’s founder and billionaire Jack Ma has stirred up controversy after saying that young people should see major tech companies’ overtime work cultures as a “huge blessing.”

In a message to employees last week, Ma said that many workers lack the opportunity to put in extra hours at work, so those with the option should take full advantage of it.

“I personally think that being able to work 996 is a huge blessing,”

Ma said Thursday in remarks posted on Alibaba’s WeChat account.

The so-called “996″ schedule refers to working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

“Many companies and many people don’t have the opportunity to work 996,” Ma continued, referring to under-performing firms. “If you don’t work 996 when you are young, when can you ever work 996?”

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