Yahoo to exit from Chinese mainland market [China Daily]

2015-03-20 /By Emma Gonzalez and Meng Jing

~Closure of Beijing R&D center expected to result in as many as 300 job losses~

Yahoo Inc is set to completely exit from China this year, after the United States-based technology giant said it was shutting its research and development center in Beijing.

The company’s decision to end its only physical presence in the Chinese mainland could eliminate as many as 300 jobs, industry sources said on Thursday. Yahoo, however, declined to specify the actual number of jobs that would be made redundant.

“We are constantly making changes to align resources, and to foster better collaboration and innovation across our business. Today (Wednesday) we informed our employees based in Beijing that we will be closing our office there,” a statement said.

The workers, mostly engineers, will be relieved from their posts by the end of this month, according to The South China Morning Post.

Richard Kramer, the London-based managing director of Arete Research, an equity research firm, said: “The mainland has not been a major part of Yahoo’s strategy for many years, even though the company has good legacy businesses in Hong Kong and Taiwan”.

The company’s announcement, however, did not surprise most industry experts, as they feel that company has been under increasing pressure from shareholders to reduce costs and improve profits.

Yahoo’s other two R&D facilities, one located in its headquarters in California and the other in Bengaluru, India, have also been affected by job cuts in recent months.

Neil Shah, research director at market research firm Counterpoint, said: “The writing was very much on the wall. Since the end of 2013, Yahoo had started scaling down its services in the Chinese mainland and it was about time to reduce the unwanted resources not contributing to any revenues.”

This year has been tough for foreign technology companies operating in the Chinese mainland as they face increasing competition from stronger local firms. In February, Microsoft announced that it would close two factories and lay off around 9,000 workers. Also in February, social gaming company Zynga decided to close its studio in Beijing.

Underperforming search business vis-a-vis local firms like Baidu, as well as overall corporate streamlining of operations to close down unprofitable centers, are some of the reasons why Yahoo has decided to close the Beijing office, said Shah from Counterpoint.

Will Tao, an analyst at consulting firm iResearch, said: ‘The salary of Chinese developers is now higher than their Indian counterparts. Therefore, it was just a matter of time for it to happen…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/beijing/2015-03/20/content_19864173.htm

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