Alibaba head’s remarks spark debate over China working hours

/ 02:01 PM April 19, 2019
Alibaba head's remarks spark debate over China working hours

In this file photo taken January 18, 2017, Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman, China’s Jack Ma speaks during a panel session on the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

BEIJING — Remarks by the head of Chinese online business giant Alibaba that young people should work 12 hours a day, six days a week if they want financial success have prompted a public debate over work-life balance in the country.

Jack Ma is one of China’s richest men and his comments last week brought both condemnation and support as China’s more mature economy enters a period of slower growth.


Newspaper People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, issued an editorial, saying mandatory overtime reflects managerial arrogance and was also impractical and unfair to workers. Online complaints included blaming long work hours for a lower birth rate in the country.

Ma has responded to the criticism by saying work should be a joy and also include time for study, reflection, and self-improvement. /kga


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