Billionaire Alibaba’s Jack Ma says 12-hour working day is a “blessing”

Billionaire Alibaba’s Jack Ma says 12-hour working day is a “blessing”

Billionaire Alibaba’s Jack Ma says 12-hour working day is a “blessing”

How many hours a week do you work?

The outspoken Chinese billionaire, co-founder of the online giant Alibaba supports a 9am to 9pm working day, six days a week.

While European countries moves towards shorter working hours – I’m not sure they can get much shorter in France – and more time off, Jack Ma calls for a “996 system”, which he describes as an opportunity and a “blessing”.

Mr Ma recently wrote that without this formula, China’s economy was “very likely to lose vitality and impetus”.

Fellow superrich tech entrepreneur Richard Liu, the boss of ecommerce giant, supports Ma’s 12-hour-a-day system.

Mr Liu said decades of unprecedented economic growth in China had created more “slackers”.

The two entrepreneurs do not appear to care much about their employees having a life outside of work, especially when you add up to two hours uncomfortable commuting time to his “996” formula, which probably ends up closer to 7-11-6.

The communist state has seen economic growth averaging 10% for more than 25 years, from the 1970s into the mid-2000s, which has since levelled out at around 6%, a rate that the U.S. and Europe would die for.

In 1998, Liu founded his company that became His work ethic is well documented, saying he would set his alarm to wake him up every two hours to offer his customers a 24-hour, service.

He wrote: “JD in the last four, five years has not made any eliminations, so the number of staff has expanded rapidly, the number of people giving orders has grown and grown, while the those who are working have fallen.

“Instead, the number of slackers has rapidly grown! If this carries on, JD will have no hope! And the company will only be heartlessly kicked out of the market! Slackers are not my brothers!”

Following earlier business successes, including a website building company, Ma co-founded Alibaba, often referred to as “China’s eBay”, in 1999 and has developed it into one of the world’s biggest internet companies.

In my new book, I write about Jack Ma’s story of how he went from teacher to billionaire using other people’s money (OPM) and investment to grow his business.

Alibaba’s market value is now approximately $490bn (£374bn), and Mr Ma’s personal wealth is estimated at around $40bn.

Last year, Ma said he will step down as executive chairman in the near future.

Most driven business owners do not just work a 9 to 5 day, unlike their employees who do not have the same skin in the game.

However, there is an argument that working long hours can be counter-productive beyond a certain point. An U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study, Overtime and Extended Work Shifts: Recent Findings on Illnesses, Injuries, and Health Behaviors, found that working beyond eight hours a day posed health risks and offered little productivity.

When I was running a company with staff, the owners worked long hours, but we found that working into the night was unproductive, caused fatigue which led to more errors. Our best employees arrived on time, worked efficiently throughout the day getting their work done and left on time leaving a clear desk.

Some corporations may regard employees as expendable pawns in the game of business, or dismiss burnout as an occupational hazard. The most profitable companies invariably look after their staff with good pay and conditions which bring out the best in people.

Who says 8 hours is the standard working day anyway? Some people can comfortably put in a 10 or 12 hour day, especially when they are doing something they love. Many professionals, such as doctors and lawyers regularly pull 50 to 60 hour weeks. Not everyone has the same desire or stamina. Do whatever is right for you and look after your health and body, as without this you cannot work or enjoy life to the full.

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