HONG KONG – China’s Xiaomi has started laying off workers in several units of its smartphone and Internet services business, reducing its workforce by about 15 per cent, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong newspaper cited social media posts by affected employees and local Chinese media, saying China’s social media platforms, including Weibo, Xiaohongshu and Maimai, have been flooded with posts about the job cuts.
Xiaomi had 35,314 staff as at Sept 30, the paper reported, with more than 32,000 in mainland China, and the latest move could affect thousands of workers, many of whom had just joined the company during a hiring spree that began in December 2021.
The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters e-mail seeking comment.
Xiaomi in November reported a 9.7 per cent fall in third-quarter revenue, hit by China’s Covid-19 restrictions and softening consumer demand. Revenue from smartphones, which make up roughly 60 per cent of its total sales, fell 11 per cent year on year, Xiaomi said.
Rival Apple has also been taking steps to reduce reliance on individual factories or skilled labour by making its iPhone product design more modular and transferable across facilities, analysts at technology market research firm Counterpoint said. The company has put a focus on ease of maintenance and deployment of new product assembly.
Manufacturing difficulty was reduced significantly with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models, according to the analysts.
“Now it is possible for the plants in India to produce the iPhone 14 almost simultaneously with the plants in China,” they wrote. Apple did begin iPhone production in India much faster in 2022 than with prior generations.
China has seen its workforce shrinking since 2020, according to data from the World Bank. A legion of skilled workers who had received some education and training has been the backbone of China’s rise as the world’s factory. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG