Since the beginning of 2022, Baidu has cut between 10% and 15% of its workforce in various departments, 36Kr reported based on information shared by former employees and in social media posts. The layoffs affected junior to senior employees in Baidu’s AI, mobile, cloud and other departments.
Several current and former Baidu employees said 36Kr that they received low grades in their annual exams and were asked to resign. One person said a Baidu human resources representative logged into his company’s account to file a resignation letter on his behalf.
Baidu responded to the allegation by saying that each employee’s corporate account is password protected and that HR representatives do not have the right or ability to access staff accounts.
Baidu maintains that the downsizing was due to its annual restructuring process to weed out lower-rated employees, and that less than 10% of its staff were let go, according to the 36Kr report. For this reason, the company did not offer severance pay to employees who were asked to leave.
In December 2021, Baidu laid off half of its staff in the mobile business department, which consisted of loss-making divisions including video games, live streaming and education, sina reported.
Many company employees believe the layoffs are due to Baidu’s $3.6 billion acquisition of social video network YY Live in February 2021. It was Baidu’s biggest ever investment. , and that’s the reason for the company’s conservative cash outflows, sources tell 36Kr.
Baidu is one of many tech companies in China that have downsized as they navigate tighter regulations, slow revenue growth and face intense competition. Didi laid off 20% of its staff earlier this month, long-form video streaming platform iQiyi cut 40% of its staff and Kuaishou cut 30% of its staff.
Baidu is listed on Nasdaq and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In the third quarter of 2021, Baidu recorded revenue of USD 4.95 billion, a year-on-year growth of 13%. Ads accounted for more than 60% of Baidu’s revenue and increased 6% from the same period last year.
In December 2021, Baidu announced to its employees that their 2021 bonuses would be postponed until March 2022.