Yahoo is bidding adios to China with the closure of its research center in Beijing — its only location in the country — as SCMP first reported. Hundreds of staff are expected to be laid off.
“We are constantly making changes to align resources, and to foster better collaboration and innovation across our business. Today we informed our employees based in Beijing that we will be closing our office there,” Yahoo said in a statement.
The Beijing office originally ran Yahoo services in China, but with all of its consumers-facing activities in the country now shuttered — including its web portal, music service and email — the office effectively become a research center. Sources at the company told SCMP that, with wages two times higher in China than India and no specific services in China, the presence wasn’t particularly logical.
Alibaba manages Yahoo’s operations in China, but the Beijing office was notable for being Yahoo-controlled. Yahoo employed 350 staff there. It hasn’t said exactly how many staff will be laid off, but it seems likely that hundreds can expect to be made redundant.
“We will be consolidating certain functions into fewer offices, including to our headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, US. Our impacted employees will be treated with respect and fairness through this transition,” Yahoo added.
One of Marissa Mayer’s first moves as CEO was to exit South Korea, and, with many of its legacy services fading in popularity outside of the U.S., she is increasing the focus on the U.S., and cutting expenses from elsewhere. Last year, layoffs were made in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, and subsequently Singapore. The company also downsized its presence in the Middle East.