Can you handle ‘996’ work culture?

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The “996” work culture has caused a huge stir in China’s tech world and triggered heated discussions on Weibo.

The work shift, which translates as working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, has been adopted by many Chinese tech and online companies including Alibaba,, and Huawei.

A group of engineers, however, has launched a protest on Microsoft’s GitHub, nicknamed project name “996.ICU,” in which ICU stands for the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, saying that they can’t stand the never-ending working hours anymore.

According to labor law in China, workers shouldn’t work more than 44 hours a week, 8 hours a day. Yet the “996” mentality has violated the regulations and forced employees to work at least 72 hours a week.

Jack Ma doesn’t agree with such regulations though. The richest man in China and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, called the “996” a “huge blessing” for young professionals.

“To join Alibaba, you need to be prepared to work 12 hours a day. Otherwise, what are you doing here? We don’t need those who are after comfort,” said Ma.

“We don’t want companies to think that ‘996’ is normal and those who don’t follow the norm should be condemned and considered as lazy,” argued one of the employees who started the online protest on the software development platform.