Sina Cuts Jobs amid Top-level Shake-up

Leading Chinese Web portal said Monday it will cut 15 per cent of its staff, about 90 jobs, and revealed an executive shake-up in efforts to help it navigate the harsh environment for Web portals in China.

Wang Zhidong, chief executive and president of Sina, one of three portals vying for dominance in China, had resigned for personal reasons and would be replaced by chief operating officer Daniel Mao, a Sina spokesman said.

Wang Yan, general manager of the company's China-based portal, would become president, spokesman Wang Jie said.

Sina, which operates Web portals in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America, would cut 15 per cent of its more than 600 jobs, he said. The California-based firm has 400 staff in Beijing.

Healthier model

Mr Wang said the job cuts were not directly related to a slowdown in revenues, which fell 19.7 per cent to US$6.1 million between the last quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year.

"The company wants a healthier operating model and will bring down its costs and improve our efficiency," Mr Wang said.

The job cuts follow Hong Kong-based Internet company chinadotcom corp's announcement in May that it would fire 500 people - its second major job cut in two months.

Internet analysts have been saying all three of China's loss-making Nasdaq-listed portals - including and - had to cut costs and boost revenues.

Analysts and investors have expressed doubts that advertising sales alone - the main revenue source for Web portals - would lead to profitability in China's low-spending market, where Web ad sales are expected to fall below US$100 million this year.

Earlier this year, Netease announced plans to offer paid portal services and both Sina and Sohu introduced wireless messaging.

All three firms have seen their stock prices driven to fractions of their initial public offering (IPO) prices.

Shares in Sina closed at US$1.74 on Friday.

Wang Zhidong, who joined the company in 1998, would act as chief adviser, Wang Jie said.

Sina operates Web portals in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America.

People's Daily Online ---