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HomeBreaking NewsNews aggregator SmartNews lays off 40% of US and China staff, with...

News aggregator SmartNews lays off 40% of US and China staff, with further reductions planned in Japan

'Quick read' news summary

SmartNews, a Tokyo-headquartered news aggregation website and app valued at $2 billion as of 2021, today announced a 40% reduction of its U.S. and China workforce, or around 120 people, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. The news was announced on Thursday in an All-Hands meeting attended this evening by SmartNews staff. The company confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch, saying the “current economic conditions” were to blame.

Impacted roles in the U.S. and China include those in engineering, product, and data science, we understand. SmartNews employees in Japan, meanwhile, will soon undergo a “voluntary departure program,” but they weren’t yet offered specifics about what that will entail. Laid-off employees will be offered standard severance packages and benefits. In the meeting, staff were told they’d get an email within 15 minutes if they were among those being let go.

In total, SmartNews employs nearly 900 people, including its contract workforce, one-third of which work outside Japan.

Sources also told TechCrunch that the company had opted to close its U.S. offices for two days, Thursday and Friday, without giving a reason, which worried employees ahead of the remotely streamed All Hands meeting.

“This isn’t your fault and I am sorry to see you leave,” remarked SmartNews CEO, Ken Suzuki, when making the announcement.

After the announcement was made, the meeting quickly ended, leaving no time for Q&A, frustrating some staff.

Founded in 2012 in Japan, the company arrived in the U.S. in 2014 and expanded its local news footprint in early 2020 to cover thousands of U.S. cities. It has relationships with more than 3,000 global publishing partners whose content is available through its service on the web and mobile devices.

In its markets, the app grew to

SmartNews, a Tokyo-headquartered news aggregation website and app valued at $2 billion as of 2021, today announced a 40% reduction of its U.S. and China workforce, or around 120 people, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. The news was announced on Thursday in an All-Hands meeting attended this evening by SmartNews staff. SmartNews employees in Japan, meanwhile, will soon undergo a “voluntary departure program,” but they weren’t yet offered specifics about what that will entail.

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