Motorola Mobility China Laying Off 800 Employees, Closing One Of Last Three Research And Development Centers

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Motorola
Motorola, owned by Google, is leaving only 200 people in its Beijing office.

Translated by Sophie Song

Motorola’s Mobility Unit (NYSE:MMI) in China has confirmed a plan to lay off 800 employees after two months of silence, according to Tencent. The company will make three rounds of cuts at the end of May, July and September.

Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) first announced its plan to cut 1,200 more jobs at its Motorola Mobility divisions in the U.S., India and China back in March, following 4,000 layoffs in 2012. This is part of a major restructuring effort from Google after it purchased the struggling mobile business in May of 2012, according to CNN.

On Monday, Motorola Mobility China’s HR department officially notified laid-off employees of the decision. On Tuesday, an executive from Motorola’s American headquarters visited the Beijing office to further explain this decision, especially regarding the transitions of its data centers. For example, by the end of July, Motorola Mobility’s data center in Beijing will be completely shut down, its data taken over by Motorola’s American headquarters.

“The email notification was delayed again and again,” a laid-off staffer said. “At first, it was scheduled for after the National People’s Congress [in November 2012] and then delayed until after Qingming [a Chinese festival honoring the dead in early April]. No one had any interest in working for the last two months; everyone was looking for another job.”

After this round of layoffs, Motorola Mobility’s Beijing office will keep a staff of only 200, mainly in sales, and a few key employees in research and development. Most of the staff in the Motorola building work for Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI), which took over the original Motorola, Inc., businesses, while Motorola Mobility took over the mobile business following a split in 2011.

This is only the latest bad news for Motorola. Merely two months after Google completed the purchase of Motorola on May 21, 2012, it announced Motorola Mobility would lay off 4,000 employees worldwide and close a third of Motorola’s 94 branches. China was heavily affected in that round, with adjustments made in Beijing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Chengdu and Shanghai; some branches lost 60 percent of their employees. A research and development center in Nanjing closed, leaving only R&D centers in Los Angeles, Chicago and Beijing. With this new round of layoffs in 2013, the Beijing center will be closed as well.

Motorola has been steadily losing ground globally. Last year, due to competition from Samsung and LG, Motorola announced the closure of its Korean offices and officially pulled out of the Korean market. Similarly in China, with heated competition from relatively newer mobile brands such as Samsung, Apple and HTC, along with domestic Chinese brands, Motorola’s territory shrank rapidly. Currently, Motorola mobile devices only account for less than 2 percent of China’s mobile market, and globally its share has fallen out of the top five at 8.6 percent by January of 2013, according to a comScore report.

During Q1 of 2013, Motorola Mobility lost $271 million, according to Google’s financial reports. 

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