Yahoo has laid off between 200 and 300 staff as it shut down its research and development (R&D) office in Beijing. The office was the last Yahoo outpost in China.
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s recent consolidation efforts have seen the company make significant cutbacks to its operations since October 2014, with a focus on reining in its global spread.
The cuts have seen downsizing in other regional centers including India. Up to 400 staff were cut from the Bangalore office in October 2014, approximately three percent of the company’s total workforce.
At the same time Yahoo! has been pulling talent from its global bases back to Sunnyvale California, in a move that is largely symbolic of Mayer’s strategic reshuffling. The company is aiming to shave a half billion dollars from staffing costs.
So what exactly does Yahoo’s future with China look like? Non-existent at this point. In January this year, the company announced that it would be spinning of its (then) US$39 billion, 15.4% stake in Chinese retail giant Alibaba. The resulting company, Spinco, allowed the tax-free distribution of the entire block of Yahoo’s 384 million shares in Alibaba to Yahoo! shareholders.
It seems the future of Yahoo! operations is in a consolidated US effort for now, with reports claiming that Chinese and Indian R&D staff would be transferred to the Sunnyvale headquarters.
As it exits China, Yahoo! is still hanging onto its 8 billion USD share in Yahoo! Japan, despite a further push from activist investor Starboard Value LP to spin off their remaining 36% stake earlier this month.
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Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)