In a message to employees last week, Ma said that many workers lack the opportunity to put in extra hours at work, so those with the option should take full advantage of it.
"I personally think that being able to work 996 is a huge blessing," Ma said Thursday in remarks posted on Alibaba's WeChat account. The so-called "996" schedule refers to working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.
The e-commerce entrepreneur was weighing in on a growing debate around work-life balance that has emerged among Chinese tech employees in recent weeks.
Last month, activists on Microsoft's code-sharing site GitHub set up a discussion group called "996.ICU," suggesting that employees who work those hours could experience burnout and end up in an intensive care unit.