Chinese tech giant ByteDance has launched a round of layoffs covering about one-tenth of its employees, mainly affecting staff members focused on R&D, products and operations. Business lines such as information platform Toutiao, TikTok and its sister app Douyin, office communications tool Feishu, and automobile information platform Dongchedi, as well as the firm’s commercialization and data departments, have received layoff notices, Jiemian News reported on December 30.
In fact, after evaluations in October, employees with low performance received individual discussion notices from the human resource department or direct leaders. Among the dozens of ByteDance employees who recently left and were interviewed by Jiemian News, some left on their own due to a performance improvement plan, some negotiated with the company and got compensation, and some have not agreed to leave their jobs because they don’t have options or they cannot find another job.
Chinese media outlet Chaintruth reported that some ByteDance employees said, “The layoffs are true and similar to what the news said. However, it is mainly carried out in 2023 through low performance, not 2022.”
Feishu has been the hardest-hit area for layoffs. From the conclusion of performance evaluations in October to the beginning of December, the number of Feishu staff decreased by more than 1,000, with a drop of more than 10%. An employee of Feishu said that a business leader told him it would be better to leave early, adding that it was only a matter of time before Feishu laid off employees. In fact, many employees with normal performance have left their jobs on their own, and the reasons for their departure are mostly related to excessive work pressure.
In the past two years, ByteDance has greatly expanded its personnel scale, with more than 100,000 people at its peak. The other side of rapid recruitment is rapid layoffs. Because the development of education, games and other businesses has not been as good as expected, ByteDance has made substantial layoffs in these two business lines in the past year. In 2022, ByteDance’s revenue fell short of expectations, and Liang Rubo, CEO of the firm, repeatedly emphasized reducing costs and focusing on important business within the company. It greatly reduced its recruitment plan from 2022 to 2023, and shrunk the scale of various business lines.
In addition to layoffs, in 2022, another keyword mentioned many times by Chinese internet companies is reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Some projects with uncertain benefits have been directly abandoned, while some jumbled projects have been sorted out and integrated. For example, JD.com shut down its e-commerce platform “Jingxi” and Tencent shut down its e-commerce platform “Xiao’e Pinpin”.