Ecommerce juggernaut Alibaba isn’t immune to the economic forces weighing down other retailers, particularly as new lockdowns in mainland China dampen hopes for an imminent recovery. The Chinese tech firm has reportedly shed close to 10,000 employees in anticipation of an economic downturn, according to the South China Morning Post.
Exactly 9,241 employees reportedly left the company during its latest financial quarter, from April to June, leaving the company’s rolls at 245,700. But lockdowns weren’t the only reason for the staff cuts — Alibaba’s revenue was flat for the first time ever during this quarter, which ended June 30, 2022.
Still, the company’s Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said Alibaba saw signs of recovery in the month of June and that he is “confident in our growth opportunities in the long term.” The layoffs appear to be a hedge against an economic downturn, with China, like much of rest of the world, facing weak consumer spending and other economic headwinds.
Alibaba is not alone in finding the tea leaves foreboding and looking to cut costs, with retailers including Walmart, Amazon, 7-Eleven, Shopify, Stitch Fix and many others either cutting staff or slowing hiring.