Interesting video on how the 996 work culture in China has taken a toll on the mental and physical health of the Chinese workers. I would never work those hours, even if I was the owner of a startup and benefited directly from it.
East Asians tend to be workaholics by nature. In China's case, I would attribute it to "catching up" to the rest of the world after Commie Mao basically destroyed the country from within.
Keep in mind that China has been around for thousands of years, and they've had a lot of time to fine tune things. I imagine as their quality of life improves via technological advancements, they'll ease up on those crazy work hours. Expect to see these developments in a decade or two once they reclaim their title of world superpower (which they've held for most of human history)
I watched the 996 special on Vice, and although very sad state for China and other countries (including the US), it really points to the issue of greed and the owners / leadership competing yet following the lead of other peer companies within industry. If financially successful company “A” maximizes their bottom line by exploiting their workers into piling on work and long hours as the expectation (usually done to salaries employees that don’t get paid for overtime), then other companies will follow that model because all those in charge care about is their bottom line and not their employees. With no other options as stated in the documentary, only choice to escape the long hours from industry is to become a peasant and drop out of the middle class. That is doable if you are single and only need to be concerned for yourself but if your family relies on your income and social standing, it’s a really tough situation for most.