A screenshot of a WeChat conversation involving Tencent CEO Pony Ma went viral today, trending on Weibo and sparking discussions among industry insiders and netizens alike.
According to the chat record, Ma shared an article titled “Discussing Layoffs” in a WeChat group, and noted, “The challenges of the upcoming environment seem quite large, you should tighten the formation, make some surplus considerations, and respond to some sudden challenges. It’s not advisable to be overly optimistic.”
In response to the virality of this screenshot, Tencent‘s Director of Public Relations, Zhang Jun, clarified on Weibo that this was not a message intended for the company’s internal staff. Zhang further explained that Ma’s comments were made during a chat with the management of an investment company, intended as a cautionary discussion about anticipating challenges and improving efficiency.
Interestingly, Tencent‘s Q1 financial report for this year revealed that the number of Tencent employees has been decreasing. As of March 31, 2022, Tencent had 116,213 employees; by December 31, 2022, the number had dropped to 108,436. By March 31, 2023, the number had further decreased to 106,221. This represents a reduction of almost 10,000 employees over the past year.