ByteDance has decided to wrap up its India operations and is cutting a large chunk of its employee base citing an absence of a clear direction on how and when its apps could be reinstated after the Indian government permanently banned 59 China-linked apps earlier this week.
While the company hasn’t revealed the number of employees who are going to be laid off, three Entrackr sources said that close to 90% staff would be asked to go between today and the first week of February.
“ByteDance will lay off over 1,800 staff in the next two weeks,” said one of the sources requesting anonymity. The company will be left with less than 250 employees in India. It also has vacated its office in WeWork (Cyber City) Gurgaon.”
The decision to trim the team is a direct impact of the Indian government’s permanent ban on ByteDance-owned TikTok along with 58 other China origin apps including PUB G mobile, Cam Scanner, Alibaba’s UC Browser and Tencent’s WeChat, among others.
It’s worth noting that TikTok used to have 300 million users from India which it lost when the Indian government first banned 59 China origin apps on June 29, 2020 following a military confrontation with China in the Galwan Valley.
Entrackr’s queries on layoffs remained unanswered until the publication of this story.
In an internal memo to its employees, ByteDance said that “…It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2000+ employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce. We look forward to receiving the opportunity to relaunch TikTok and support the hundreds of millions of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers in India.
Sources emphasised that most of the Chinese internet companies have already dismantled their local teams. “Some have kept a skeleton team with a few employees, but they are likely to wrap up local presence completely,” said the second person on condition of anonymity.
While the company hasn’t given a breakup of job cuts across its local portfolio – TikTok, Helo and Resso – sources said that 85-90% employees of all the three apps will be impacted.
“We continually strive to make our apps comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns they have. It is therefore disappointing that in the ensuing seven months, despite our efforts we have not been given a clear direction on how and when our apps could be reinstated,” the memo said.