Amid Covid-19 wave sweeping China, smartphone maker Xiaomi to slash nearly 10% of jobs

Staff members stand near the company logo at a Xiaomi store in Shanghai, China. Reuters.

Shanghai: Amid a severe outbreak of the Covid-19 virus sweeping several provinces in China, smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has started laying off staff in its smartphone and internet services business, adding to a long list of the country’s tech firms that have been cutting jobs.

“The personnel optimization and organizational streamlining practice will affect less than 10% of the total workforce,” a Xiaomi Corp spokesperson said on Tuesday, adding that those affected have been compensated in keeping with local regulations.

China’s social media platforms, including Weibo, Xiaohongshu and Maimai, have been overwhelmed with posts about job cuts this week. The state-run Chinese local media first reported on Monday that the job cuts would affect nearly 15% of Xiaomi’s payroll, citing news agencies.

Chinese tech giants like Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) and the Alibaba Group have been cutting jobs in recent months as China became engulfed in a prolonged battle with Covid-19 outbreaks being reported from across the country.

On 30 September, Xiaomi had 35,314 staff, according to the South China Morning Post, with over 32,000 belonging to mainland China, and the latest move could affect thousands of workers, many of whom have just joined the company during a hiring spree that began in December last year.

In November, Xiaomi reported a 9.7% fall in its third-quarter revenue, hit by China’s Covid-19 restrictions and softening consumer demand. Revenue from smartphones, which make up roughly 60% of its total sales, fell 11% year-on-year, the company said.

China’s consumer consumption has remained weak as cities across the country continue to implement lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

Xiaomi’s stock price has tumbled nearly 50% since the beginning of the year. The company has in turn begun exploring new areas for growth. Last year, it formally announced a foray into electric vehicles, committing to entering mass production in the first half of 2024.

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