Major Crypto Exchange Huobi Lays off All Staff of Its Shenzhen Office

Major cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has reportedly closed its Shenzhen division and fired all 14 local employees amid crypto market harsh decline, Chinese news media Odaily reported on Thursday.

Huobi’s subsidiary in Shenzhen was registered in October, 2016, and focuses on exploring innovative businesses, according to information on domestic company information search engine tianyancha.com. The company once developed a token-based paid knowledge product , but it ended in failure.

A source familiar with the situation told Odaily that Huobi Shenzhen had more than 20 full-time employees multiple months earlier, but now 14 remaining staff will be laid off. But the source did not disclose the specific reason for the layoff. Li Lin, the founder of Huobi, is rumored to have a very high opinion of Huobi Shenzhen’s CEO Zhu Jiwei. But Zhu has yet commented on closing the business in Shenzhen.

Odaily cited an anonymous Huobi employee as saying that Huobi Shenzhen’s staff who is fired before the end of the 6-month probation period will not be compensated. Meanwhile, another inside source said Huobi group ordered a dedicated team to handle the subsidiary’s employee termination.

Shi Wei, Huobi’s director of public relations confirmed the layoff plans, saying the company is cutting its worst-performing employees. But she declined to specify the exact number of planned job cuts.

However, another source familiar with the matter denied the rumor of laying off the entire workforce in Shenzhen. The source told Chinese economic journal Caijing that the company  shut the door because its business had overlap with Huobi’s other businesses. After the dissolution of the company, some former employees will join other branches of Huobi, while some others will be compensated according to law.

A former employer told Caijing the crypto trading platform started to lay off since November 2018 when Wen Xiaoqi was appointed as its CEO. As of the end of December, around one third of Huobi’s full-time employees have been fired. The report indicated that the tight cash flow and power struggles faced by Huobi could be culprits behind the mass layoffs.

Other cryptocurrency operators, such as Bitmain, Steemit and  ConsenSys, were also making significant cuts to its staff over the past few months as the market rout hits businesses.

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