China’s JD.com to Lay Off 10 Percent of Senior Executives This Year: Report

February 19, 2019 Updated: February 19, 2019

SHANGHAI—One of China’s largest e-commerce sites, JD.com Inc., will lay off 10 percent of its senior executives this year, Chinese online media outlet Sina Tech reported Feb. 19, citing unnamed sources.

The cuts were announced at the company’s annual party last week, the report said, adding that JD.com, which has nearly 100 senior executives, had confirmed the planned layoffs.

The layoffs come during a broader slowdown in China’s tech sector, wherein start-ups are vying for shrinking pools of venture capital and established companies are looking for new revenue opportunities as growth plateaus.

JD.com is backed by U.S.-based Walmart Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and China’s Tencent Holdings.

A JD.com spokesperson declined to comment on Reuters’ queries, but said the company was looking to maximize its resources.

“We are actively promoting the empowerment of staff at all levels, with the aim of maximizing resources to provide equal opportunities for qualified talent and to ensure quality growth of the business in the future,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Last week, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said it would lay off 15 percent of its staff, with cuts coming mostly from non-core business units.

In November, JD.com reported its slowest quarter revenue growth since its initial public offering in 2014.

The company is also recovering from a scandal involving CEO Richard Liu, who in 2018 was arrested in the United States on suspicions of rape. Liu denied the allegations and U.S. prosecutors announced that Liu will not face charges.

JD.com founder Richard Liu attends a business forum in Hong Kong, China on June 9, 2017. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)

Special Treatment

Liu’s public activities go beyond conventional business.

Liu is known to be a vocal advocate for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Liu has a seat in the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and has given talks about communism.

He is a member of the China Democratic National Construction Association, an organization that promotes the Chinese Communist Party’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

The Chinese regime may have given Liu preferential treatment and had been paying close attention to Liu’s case. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a Sept. 3 press briefing that the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago was keeping an eye on the case, and was in contact with the relevant U.S. organizations for updates on the situation. It is rare for Beijing to take such public interest in the fate of a Chinese businessman overseas.

Moreover, news about Liu’s arrest is censored in China. While Liu’s mugshot spread quickly across social media, all state-owned media removed their reports on his case.

By Josh Horwitz. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.

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