Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) is cutting its spending on travel and postponing some new hiring as China’s largest e-commerce company braces for a slowing economy, people familiar with the matter said.
Some new hires were told they cannot start until the new fiscal year begins in April, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private.
The travel cuts include restricting business-class airfares on a unit-by-unit basis, with staff only able to select a premium cabin on every fifth round trip that takes more than 20 hours, one of the people said.
The trade dispute with the US is casting a bigger shadow over China, with the macroeconomic slowdown hitting everything from hardware manufacturers to the world’s biggest start-up Bytedance Ltd (字節跳動), which is said to have barely hit its revenue target for last year.
Beijing has also played a role.
The nation has faced the biggest digital crackdown in history over the past year or so, with everything from games to streaming platforms censored and sometimes banned.
A sudden freeze on game licenses threw the industry into disarray and slashed US$200 billion from Tencent Holdings Ltd’s (騰訊) value at one point.
Hiring by China’s technology companies plummeted by a fifth in the final quarter of last year as the nation’s largest corporations grappled with mounting economic uncertainty, according to a study of national job ads released yesterday.
The number of IT and Internet positions advertised nationwide fell by 20 percent in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, according to a report from Renmin University and the nation’s largest jobs Web site Zhaopin.com (招聘).
The drop was most pronounced in the Internet and online gaming sectors, where ads slid 23 percent and 30 percent respectively.
Last year marked the first time China’s giant IT and Internet sector — led by Tencent and Alibaba — has cut back on job ads since 2015, the study showed.
“The changing macroeconomic situation, a stream of regulatory improvements and the end of easy profit generated from large traffic volumes have ended the monstrous growth of the Internet industry and has gradually returned it to a more reasonable level,” the report said. “New Internet companies need to innovate to find new areas of growth.”
When asked about any potential job cuts, Alibaba said it is always investing in talent and hunting for the right people.
“Long-term strategic planning and continuous upgrades of our talent pool are central to Alibaba’s future,” the company said in an e-mail.
Analysts have already started to predict a slowdown for China’s technology sector as business confidence deteriorates and consumer spending ebbs.
Morgan Stanley estimates revenue among the nation’s Internet stocks it covers would grow 29 percent on average this year — dipping below 30 percent for the first time since at least 2015.
Economists see growth in China slowing to an annual pace of 6.2 percent this year, the weakest pace since 1990.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
NEW CONSIDERATIONS: An airline manager said the idea is tempting, as demand for air cargo is strong, but issues such as training loaders would need to be addressed Taiwanese airlines might repurpose passenger jets to carry cargo in their cabins to offset lost revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines are considering applying to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) for permission to transport cargo in passenger cabins after StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) last month became the first among the nation’s airlines to offer cargo-only flights using the normal cargo holds of its three Airbus SE A321neo passenger jets. “We are considering whether to increase our capacity by putting cargo on passenger seats,” Starlux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “The advantage is that we can improve revenue,
GLOBAL CUTS: CEO Warren East said the firm’s focus was on strengthening financial resilience, so it would likely reduce salary costs by at least 10% this year Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC is scrapping its targets and final dividend to shore up its finances as the British aero-engine maker’s customers around the world ground planes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rolls-Royce, one of Britain’s most historic industrial names, which before the pandemic struck was trying to emerge from a multiyear turnaround plan, has suspended its dividend for the first time since 1987. The company’s engines power Airbus SE and Boeing Co’s widebody jets, but more than 60 percent of that fleet is now grounded, according to aviation data provider Cirium. Rolls-Royce is paid by airlines based on how many hours they fly. Over
PAINFUL CONTRACTION: Passenger loads in February on flights between Taiwan and China, Hong Kong and Macau fell by more than 90 percent compared with December Even with more than NT$450 billion (US$14.85 billion) in financial aid from the Executive Yuan’s expanded relief package, local tourism-related businesses are unlikely to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic any time soon, a central bank report released last month said. The NT$1.05 trillion relief package includes NT$472 billion in financial assistance for tourism and transportation sectors, such as airlines, hotels, travel agencies, taxis and tour buses. However, a March 20 central bank report said that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global and domestic economies are far greater than that of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, despite any benefits from delayed purchases