A few years ago, entrepreneurs were hailing Jack Ma as the tech titan of Asia, whose net worth (38.6 billion USD) placed him amongst the world’s wealthiest businessmen. But as with all powerful figures, controversy is not far away.
At Ali Day, Alibaba’s annual employees celebration event, Ma said employees should have sexual activity six times every six days, and that it should last a long time, referencing the 996 working system that’s adopted in many tech companies in China, as reported by TechNode.
Ma got called out in April after he condemned an online movement against the 996 working schedule, which forces employees to work from 9am to 9pm, six days a week. Tech workers posted on the online software development platform, GitHub, to speak out against the long hours, saying that eventually it’ll lead them to the ICU. Ma responded to the comment by saying it’s a “blessing” having the opportunity to work 996.
At the same event, Ma continued on his 996 statements with a wordplay. The Chinese term for “long“ is a homophone with the word for “nine“, so he switched the 996 quote to encourage sexual activity that lasts long. The event also featured weddings of 102 employee couples taking place on stage, which Ma acted as the witness.
Ma gave a speech at the end, saying “We emphasise the spirit of 996 at work. We want 669 in life. What is 669? Six times over six days a week, the key is to last long.“
According to TechNode, Ma said the sole purpose of marriage is to produce babies. As pointed out by several Chinese netizens, his statement reflected one of the goals of China’s government–to increase the country’s birthrate to counter the ill-effects of China’s ‘one child policy’ of past. One Weebo user commented, “Jack Ma is following the state in promoting having more babies.“
A post on Weebo reads, “If an ordinary person said this it would be considered as part of the ‘straight man cancer‘”, a Chinese term used by netizens to describe sexist, self-righteous men. Another user on the social platform said “996 during the day, 669 during the night, I guess after less than a month I might have to stay in the ICU forever.“
An Alibaba spokesperson said in a statement that “Jack offered lighthearted life and marital advice“ to the newlyweds that included the tip “that the value of love, unlike coding, can’t be measured or calculated.“
Wise one, Jack.
For more news, click here.