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.
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 was 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.