Oracle presented the looming mass-layoffs in China towards those affected as a tough-but-necessary structural change, but some of its Chinese staff members are not buying it.
A video of a small protest staged by Oracle employees and their families surfaced last night, hours after news broke the US tech giant plans to cut its local workforce by about 900 people and close its China R&D Center.
Multiple banners shown in the video criticize Oracle for embracing the Chinese market but abandoning local staff. “High profit, why layoff,” read one sign. “Keep the jobs in China,” read another.
However, some protesters seemed to believe that there are political motives behind the company’s plan to scale down in China. “Firmly oppose Oracle’s political layoffs. Leave politics out of technology,” said one of the banners.
China and the United States are currently locked in a trade war, and political pressure encouraging a decoupling between the world’s two largest economies is mounting.
Oracle’s founder and CEO Larry Ellison has been vocal about his fear of China becoming technologically more advanced than the United States.
“If we let China’s economy pass us up, if we let China produce more engineers than we do, if we let China’s technology companies beat our technology companies, it won’t be long that our military is behind technologically also. Our economy is behind technologically,” he said in an interview with Fox News last October. “We have a serious competition going on with China, and I’m on team USA.”
The US-China economic and security review commission had issued a new report accusing Chinese companies of using various methods to steal technology, intellectual property and know-how from US firms just one day before Oracle informed its Chinese staffs about the layoffs.
Foreign direct investment, venture capital investment, joint ventures, licensing agreements, cyber espionage and talent acquisitions are listed as the major tactics allegedly used by Chines firms, according to the report.
Oracle is the latest major US tech titan scaling down its China operation. Earlier last month, Qualcomm folded one of its joint venture with a Chinese partner in Guizhou and Amazon announced its decision to shut down its online marketplace service in China.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad