According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Alibaba cut nearly 10,000 employees over the last quarter. The move comes when the tech giant struggles with sluggish sales and China’s economic downturn.

Alibaba had nearly 255,000 employees a year ago, and its workforce decreased to about 245,000 headcounts as of June. It is the first drop in Alibaba’s payroll size since March 2016.

The layoff is part of Alibaba’s efforts to cut costs and streamline efficiency. The e-commerce giant is experiencing a sweeping regulatory crackdown from Beijing, weak consumption, and a slowing market.

The firm’s current workforce situation is opposite to a couple of years ago, when the company increased its workforce to about 130,000 employees within three months. SCMP reported that from September to December 2020, Alibaba increased its headcount from about 122,000 to 252,000 employees as it aggressively expanded its groceries and fresh goods brand, Freshippo.

The news came amid Alibaba’s disappointing business result on Thursday when it reported no quarterly revenue growth for the first time in its history. In addition, its net income dropped sharply to $3.4 billion in the second quarter, down 50% compared to last year. 

The company also faces challenges in other areas. Last week, U.S. regulators added it to a growing list of U.S.-listed Chinese firms that might be delisted from U.S. stock exchanges.

Reuters last month reported that the tech giant planned to cut one-third of its headcount in its in-house deals team.

Following regulatory crackdowns from Beijing, tech firms are struggling with their business, causing a wave of layoffs.

Earlier this year, Alibaba’s main viral Tencent reportedly planned to cut tens of thousands of jobs due to strict Covid lockdown measures and continued regulatory crackdowns that hit growth. TikTok owner ByteDance also carried out fresh layoffs that affected thousands of employees. 

The Wall Street Journal in June reported that these job cuts followed tens of thousands of employees that had already been laid off by Chinese tech companies since last year after the regime’s regulatory crackdown severely hit the industry.

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