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The9 laying off staff as part of strategic adjustment

Some departments hit by 50% cuts
The9 laying off staff as part of strategic adjustment

On the back of less than positive financials, Chinese online publisher The9 is reportedly in the process of laying off up to 50 percent of its staff in some departments.

Its technology and platform operation departments are believed the hardest hit, with a former employer claiming the cull has been made following continued financial difficulties at the firm, which has been operating at a loss since 2009.

In response, the firm has put out a statement admitting that it's engaging in "strategic adjustments" in "accordance with the needs of our business."

Structure and strategy

"We are optimising operations programs and the relevant human-relations structures, and this optimisation to increase the efficiency of the company is a necessary adjustment," said the firm, only adding to talk of mass job cuts.

A refocus of the business hardly comes out of the blue: The9 was hit by a net loss of $45 million in 2011, mainly because of a decline in its online PC games business. Until 2009, it ran World of Warcraft in China.  

Now it's looking to the mobile games market to try to fill that gap. 

The launch of mobile social platform The9 Game Zone in partnership with GREE in April 2011 has spearheaded this move, with mobile business unit VP Chris Shen describing the venture as risky but full of potential when interviewed in March.

In all, the company is hoping developers will bring more than 1,000 titles to The9 Game Zone before the end of 2012, though more immediate financial relief may come from the launch of online PC shooter Firefall from wholly-owned US developer Red 5 Studio, current in closed beta.

[source: TechInAsia]