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The Chinese smartphone maker says it has implemented the usual “personnel optimization and organizational simplification.”

Xiaomi Corp, one of China’s biggest smartphone makers, has begun massive layoffs, shedding up to 15 percent of its workforce, a Hong Kong newspaper reported, citing social media and Chinese media.

Social media platforms such as Weibo, Xiaohongshu and Maimai have been flooded with posts from laid-off employees, with layoffs taking place across several divisions of the company’s smartphone and internet services businesses, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday. the

As of September 30, Xiaomi had 35,314 employees, the vast majority of whom were based in mainland China.

The layoffs, if approved, would affect thousands of workers, many of whom recently joined the company in a hiring spree that began last year.

A Xiaomi representative did not directly comment on the reported layoffs, but said the company was undergoing a routine upgrade.

“Xiaomi has recently implemented regular staff optimization and organizational simplification, with the affected parties representing less than 10 percent of the total workforce,” a spokesperson told Al Jazeera. “Victims have been compensated according to local regulations.”

The reported layoffs come months after the smartphone maker announced bold plans to challenge Apple’s dominance in high-end smartphones.

In February, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said Xiaomi was in a “war” with Apple and aimed to become China’s biggest high-end brand in the next three years.

Xiaomi reported a 9.7 percent drop in third-quarter revenue in November, amid China’s strict “zero-to-COVID” pandemic restrictions and weakening consumer demand. Smartphone revenue, which accounts for 60 percent of total sales, fell 11 percent year-on-year, Xiaomi said.

Xiaomi posted sales growth in 2021 as Washington-imposed sanctions crippled Huawei Technologies’ US business, before reporting its first quarterly revenue decline in May.

With Xiaomi’s share price down nearly 50 percent since the start of the year, the company has been looking for new areas of growth. Those efforts include a push toward electric cars, with mass production slated to begin in 2024.

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