AI Chip Startup Cambricon Reported to Have Conducted Layoffs Without N+1 Compensation
On Chinese workplace social platform Maimai, several employees claiming to be from Chinese AI chip startup Cambricon revealed that the company is conducting layoffs without an N+1 salary compensation, as reported by Southern Metropolis Daily on April 23.
Some employees wrote that “Cambricon will lay off staff this year without N+1 compensation. Those who are not laid off will see significant reductions in bonuses and salary increases. Hardware positions will continue recruiting a small number of employees while software recruitment has almost stopped. The management hopes to keep the total number of employees within 600.” In addition, some have disclosed that “the proportion of new graduate student employees among those being laid off at Cambricon is as high as 80%.”
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According to the report, an employee at Cambricon confirmed that layoffs were taking place and some teams’ year-end bonuses had been reduced for those who remained after the cuts. The employee also mentioned that some recent graduates were retained, but could not confirm if it was up to 80%. Most of the employees who were laid off belonged to the software department, and it is estimated that hundreds of people have already been affected by these job cuts.
Regarding those who remain employed at Cambricon, this employee disclosed that some teams’ year-end bonuses were not reduced but did confirm there were reductions in other teams’ year-end bonuses as mentioned in online posts. However, discussions about salary raises haven’t happened yet. As for concerns over N+1 compensation changes, he stated all his colleagues still had N+1 plans but admitted some didn’t receive their annual bonus or any compensation.
After this news broke out, Wang Haibo, Director of Human Resources at Beijing-based Cambricon, responded on Maimai saying news about keeping headcount under 600 is false and these layoffs only target employees who failed to meet performance standards, and N+1 compensation still exists. He also stated that “performance-based compensation is a common management tool and an ongoing measure for healthy development of an enterprise.”
On the other hand, Cambricon has recently attracted attention due to its soaring stock price. Boosted by frequent AI computing power upgrades, Cambricon’s share price has risen sharply since December 30, 2022, from 55.60 yuan ($8.06) per share to a high of 271.47 yuan per share on April 20 – an increase of nearly 298%.
On April 20 evening, Cambricon issued a statement regarding abnormal fluctuations in its stock trading prices stating that it does not directly engage in developing or selling AI application products (such as ChatGPT-like applications).