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China's Yangtze Memory reportedly lays off staff, evicts them from company housing

So much for the workers' paradise: Big Tech gives its discards months of severance pay

Adding insult to injury, staff laid off by Chinese memory-maker Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YTMC) not only lost their jobs, but were evicted from their company-subsidized apartments in Wuhan, according to Chinese media outlet Caixin.

The Chinese state-owned memory-maker let go of between five and ten percent of staff in recent weeks – a response to the effects of being added to a US trade embargo list and a general economic downturn in the IC industry. According to Caixin, the workers were given one month to complete their move or the option to pay amounts up to $148,000 to stay in their current accommodation.

One YTMC employee reportedly confirmed that the layoffs affected "almost all departments," however not all were evicted as not all employees qualified for housing perks.

Apartments were reportedly offered to core managers and R&D employees at a discounted rate in the second half of 2020 as part of their total compensation packages. Five years of employment with the company would guarantee ownership, shorter service meant additional repayments of between $44,000 and $200,000 were required.

YTMC mass produces 128 and 232-layer NAND flash memory, competing against the likes of Micron, SK hynix and Samsung. Micron has declared it will also lay off around ten percent of its workforce.

It's not hard to see why: global NAND flash revenue fell by 24.3 percent quarter-on-quarter for 3Q22, according to analyst firm Trendforce in November 2022. Trendforce predicted Q4 2022 would bring further drops, resulting in industry revenue falling around 20 percent quarter-on-quarter as the commodity remains oversupplied.

Analysts and market research firms alike predicted in late 2022 that YTMC would face a difficult path as not only were restrictions put in place but also buyers outside of China became reluctant to adopt the chip shop's technology. According to TrendForce, potential mitigating strategies include the firm abandoning the 3D NAND flash market or pivoting to manufacturing logic semiconductors using a mature process.

But as YTMC is state-owned and has no obligation to report results, it remains to be seen if it will take the suggestion.

Evicting staff is in marked contrast to US tech employers, typically pay laid-off staff several months severance and offer outplacement services to find them new gigs. Where's the workers' paradise now? ®

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