According to South China Morning Post, more than 9,241 employees left Hangzhou-based Alibaba during the June quarter, as the company trimmed its overall headcount to 245,700.
“That put the total decrease in employee numbers for Alibaba, owner of the South China Morning Post, to 13,616 over the six months to June, marking the firm’s first drop in payroll size since March 2016,” the report noted.
Alibaba reported a 50% drop in net income to 22.74 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in the June quarter, down from 45.14 billion yuan in the same period last year.
“The reduced payroll reflects Alibaba’s renewed efforts to cut expenses and drive up efficiency, as it faces continued regulatory pressure, sluggish consumption and a slowing economy in China, the world’s biggest e-commerce market,” the report noted.
Alibaba Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang Yong said the company will add nearly 6,000 fresh university graduates to its headcount this year.
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According to a report in Wall Street Journal, the move is aimed at part of the fintech giant’s effort to move away from affiliate Alibaba Group Holding that is under immense scrutiny from the government.
Since last year, Chinese regulatory authorities have been cracking down harder on domestic tech giants like Alibaba and Ant Group to end their dominance in the internet sector.
According to the report, Ma could relinquish his control by transferring some of his voting power to other Ant officials, including Chief Executive Eric Jing.
Ma has controlled Ant since he carved its precursor assets out of Alibaba more than a decade ago.
Founded in 1999, Alibaba went through a major reshuffle when Ma passed the baton as CEO to Daniel Zhang in 2015 and further appointed him as Chairman in 2019.