U.S. tech giant Oracle Corp on Wednesday denied a claim that its layoff of a research and development (R&D) team in Beijing was linked to U.S. President-elected Donald Trump's pledges to create jobs at home, stating that the decision was made to further its business restructuring efforts.
"As the global market for Oracle's Solaris [operating system] shrinks, the company is now refocusing on cloud services to better adapt to changes," Li Yingyan, the public relations manager at Oracle's Beijing office, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Li's comment followed a protest on Wednesday in Beijing by some of Oracle's staff, who accused the company of discriminating against Chinese employees.
On Friday night, Oracle sent an e-mail to the roughly 200 employees of its storage and operating system unit in Beijing, asking them to leave before March 31, according to sources close to the matter. The e-mail did not provide details on compensation.
"Oracle is refocusing more R&D efforts on cloud computing … some product teams in some markets will be eliminated," according to the e-mail, which was signed by Bill Nesheim, vice president of Solaris Platform Engineering.
However, most of the laid-off employees didn't buy the explanation. An employee, who only spoke on the condition of anonymity, described the move as "a cut-off to retain job opportunities for the people in the U.S.."
"The Solaris unit may have posted a lower-than-expected performance last year, but the storage group is making lucrative revenues. Oracle does need IT staff to continue offering its storage service, so most of our jobs will be transferred to U.S. engineers," the employees told the Global Times on Wednesday.
However, Li said the layoffs are part of the company's global plan to trim its workforce. "We are cutting employees globally, including in the U.S.," she said. "Meanwhile, we have still hired more than 5,000 people in China, and the employees being eliminated this time are actually fewer than 200, most of whom do not have expertise in cloud computing."
Li also noted that to further develop its cloud business, Oracle is now recruiting in China. "We will scale up our investment and marketing efforts in China," he said.
In December, Silicon Valley executives met with Trump in New York. The co-CEO of Oracle, Safra Catz, later joined Trumps' transition team.