Chinese telecommunications hardware maker ZTE is axing 5 percent of its 60,000 global workforce, amid looming US trade sanctions that could severely impact its supply chain, according to a report from Reuters.
About 3,000 employees will allegedly be made redundant in the first quarter of 2017, 600 of which are being slashed from ZTE's handset business in China.
Employees who had sniffed around for job opportunities in rival companies such as Huawei were marked as "unstable factors" and listed among those that needed to be let go, a local manager told Reuters.
In March 2016, the US Commerce Department announced that it would impose a ban on exports by US companies to ZTE after it allegedly broke Washington's sanctions on sales to Iran.
The company, much like Xiaomi, has also suffered in the face of increasing competition in its home country, with the Chinese smartphone market favouring Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei.
While H2 2016 results are yet to be released, ZTE reported an overall operating revenue increase of 4.05 percent to 47.76 billion yuan ($6.89 billion) in H1 2016. Out of that, 27.8 billion yuan, or about 58 percent, is domestic revenue and 19.95 billion yuan comes from international business. The company attributed its revenue growth to increasing its market share in the mobile operator network market.
"The company ranks first in 4G global shipments -- as it has for three consecutive years -- and has successfully increased its market share in both wireless and wired markets," the company said in August 2016.
Last week, ZTE launched its crowdsourced smartphone called Hawkeye, which features a self-adhering case and eye-tracking technology.