Alibaba head's remarks spark debate over working hours

Jack Ma (Reuters File Photo)

Remarks by the head of Chinese online business giant Alibaba that young people should work 12-hour days, 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.

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