When Microsoft acquired Nokia’s devices and services business last year, the deal included some of the company’s manufacturing plants. Around that time, the company announced that it would be moving manufacturing operations from China to Vietnam, and laying off around 18,000 workers in the process. Now, the day of reckoning has come for two of the company’s Chinese manufacturing plants.
According to reports from Nikkei and Chinese state media, the company will be shutting down a pair of plants – one in Beijing and one in Dongguan – and moving some of the equipment to Vietnam. Those closures translate to about 9,000 job cuts.
While the news isn’t a surprise, it comes at a time when relations between China and Microsoft are particularly frosty. The Chinese state-run media accused Microsoft of having backdoors in its products that would enable U.S. spying (a charge the company vehemently denied), and the company is currently undergoing an antitrust probe from Chinese regulators.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson provided GeekWire with the following statement via email:
“Reports of layoffs in China reflect notifications made during the cycle of company-wide reductions of 18,000 employees last year, but the timing of actual departure was staggered due to local and legal requirements.”