After local media reported the beginning of the process to lay off hundreds of employees earlier this week, Pico, a virtual reality (VR) headset manufacturer that is owned by TikTok’s Chinese developer ByteDance, announced on Friday that it would be laying off a small number of people.
On Thursday, the South China Morning Post cited anonymous sources as saying that Pico had reduced the size of some teams by as much as thirty percent.
“While we continue to hire as a business globally, we are streamlining our team and, as a result, parting ways with a small number of colleagues,” a spokesperson for Pico said in a statement. “We are streamlining our team and, as a result, parting ways with a small number of colleagues.”
“We have a deep appreciation for the contributions made by these colleagues, and we are working closely with those who will be impacted to provide support for them as they navigate this period of transition.”
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Reuters was told by a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected workers exceeded 200.
Pico was acquired by ByteDance in 2021 in a transaction that was widely interpreted as a bet on the metaverse concept of virtual worlds. This put the tech giant in direct competition with the United States-based social media company Meta Platforms Inc., which has its own VR devices.
ByteDance, like many of its technology contemporaries in China, has been laying off employees since the beginning of the year and reorganising its business in response to the slowdown in economic growth in the country.
After it was reported by local media that the Chinese gaming and social media major was laying off staff in its newly formed “extended reality” (XR) business, Tencent Holdings Ltd. said on Thursday that it was making some personnel adjustments.