Yahoo! will ! close! Beijing! research! lab!

300 staff face axe as Purple Palace brings R&D home

Yahoo! will close a 350-person research lab in Beijing, in order to consolidate its research efforts.

The South China Morning Post learned of the closure and secured confirmation from Yahoo! that workers will be let go from the end of March.

Yahoo! isn't easily accessible in China and doesn't aim services at the nation's burgeoning population of web users. The Purple Palace leaves that to its partner Alibaba.

There's no hint that China's government had a hand in the decision but it can't be ruled out because Beijing likes Weestern companies to form deep joint ventures with local companies. With Yahoo! poised to spin out its Alibaba stake, it will have shallower ties to China.

Less conspiratorial thinking could support a theory that a Beijing lab is something that's just not that useful to Yahoo! any more, and that while China is home to many talented people that pool of workers comes at a price and complexity Yahoo! can do without. The company's not said it will top up its pool of US-based researchers to keep its brain bucket at the same level. ®

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