Oracle closes China’s R&D centre and axes nearly 1,000 employees: Report

Staff that were made redundant have gathered to protest the layoff plan, according to photos and video clips circulating on social media.

Oracle will shut down its research and development (R&D) arm in China, resulting in the layoffs of more than 900 people, Chinese media outlet 21st Century Business Herald reported this week, citing Oracle's Asia Pacific human resources head.

Several other Chinese media outlets have also confirmed the initial report, citing either Oracle employees or people familiar with the situation. Among the people affected by the layoffs, 500 are from Oracle's R&D centre in Beijing, according to the reports. 

Oracle employs a total of some 1,600 R&D staff in the country.

Oracle has reportedly offered relatively generous compensation plans to those made redundant, providing cash compensation of "N+6" worth of monthly salary to those who agree to resign by May 22, with the "N" representing the amount of years employees have served in the company.

Meanwhile, photos and video clips circulating across social media showed that many staff affected by the layoff plans have gathered to protest Oracle's retreat from China. One banner said: "[Oracle owns] high profit, why are there still layoffs?". Another said "Leave politics out of technology".

Oracle's layoffs in China follow similar moves made in the United States, when the company announced in March it would axe over 350 people from its US R&D centre sometime this month. 

"As our cloud business grows, we will continually balance our resources and restructure our development group to help ensure we have the right people delivering the best cloud products to our customers around the world," an Oracle spokesperson said at the time.

The US company, which has operated in China for about two decades, owns 14 branches, five R&D centres, and has nearly 5,000 employees in the country. Oracle's Asia Pacific arm accounts for about 16% of the company's total revenues.

Although Oracle has indicated it has plans to step up investment for business cloud services, agency data showed that it remains a small player in China, with the market being firmly dominated by other players such as Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, China Telecom, and AWS.

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