Yahoo will shutter its Beijing research and development (R&D) operations, which are focused on data for personalization, advertising, mobile and cloud computing. The move will lead to a layoff of between 200 and 300 employees -- or 2% of its 12,500 global workforce.
The China R&D center, which opened in 2009, was the company's only engineering presence on the mainland. It was one of three worldwide.
"We are constantly making changes to align resources, and to foster better collaboration and innovation across our business," said Yahoo in a statement. "Today we informed our employees based in Beijing that we will be closing our office there."
Yahoo's engineering and production teams are primarily located at its Sunnyvale, Calif. headquarters; Bangalore, India; and Beijing, China. Product development expenses for 2012, 2013, and 2014 totaled approximately $886 million, $1 billion, and $1.2 billion, respectively -- which included stock-based compensation expense of $74 million, $83 million, and $139 million, respectively, according to the company's 10-K Securities and Exchange Commission filing for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2014.
The Yahoo Beijing Global R&D Center Science had deep roots in engineering. It forged the core of Yahoo's Platform as a Service strategy focusing on collecting, analyzing and acting on massive amounts of data through Yahoo's infrastructure. It supports personalization, targeting, sponsored search, and non-guaranteed display ads. Yahoo uses the data to create personal mobile and Web experiences and targeted ads and content.
The R&D center operates independently from the Alibaba Group, China's biggest e-commerce firm, which makes it possible for Yahoo to operate on the mainland. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-headquartered company owns around 15% of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which it spun off into a separate company.