Jack Ma, the founder and chairperson of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, (BABA), has raised eyebrows for his support on China’s “996” work shift, saying working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for six days of the week was a “blessing.”
Ma made these remarks during a mass wedding of 102 couples on “Ali Day” at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He used the opportunity to defend the “996 spirit” while advocating that in their personal lives, the couples should follow “669.”
“Six times in six days is the key to a ‘long’ (jiu) time.”
What is 669? It refers to having sex six times in six days, and lasting as long as possible. (The number 9 represents “long lasting” in Chinese.)
This year’s key message from the founder to newly-married employees is to have more more sex and more kids. “The first KPI of marriage is to have results. There must be products. What is the product? Have children,” Ma said.
There were 15 million newborns in China last year — marking the lowest birth rate since 1961. For the past three decades, Beijing has imposed the one-child policy. Under pressure from a shrinking labor pool and ageing population, China relaxed the policy in 2016 by allowing couples to have more than one baby.
But the easing of the regulation hasn’t delivered immediate results. Many couples have opted not to have babies due to concerns including rising housing prices and access to high-quality education. In China, owning an apartment is usually seen as a prerequisite for getting married. In Hangzhou, Alibaba’s home turf, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment is $500,000.
Children are good investments
Ma said having kids is a better investment than buying houses nowadays. Despite keeping an extremely low profile of his personal life, Ma, who is married and has one son, believes working hard and living well doesn’t contradict each other.
“Marriage is not for the purpose of accumulating wealth, not for buying a house, not for buying a car, but for having a baby together. Always remember that everything could be others, could be fake. Only the child is the real thing. Have more children!” he said.
Ma has had a pretty blessed month. Alibaba Group filed for a US IPO which is expected to be the largest in history, and due to make Ma incredibly, unbelievably rich. Ma and other Alibaba founders recently announced their intentions to establish a charitable fund along the lines of the Gates Foundation.