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Alibaba rules out layoffs this year; NetEase, Didi Chuxing to cut staff

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a monthly rundown of executive and board changes in the Asia-Pacific technology, media and communications industries.

Top news

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ruled out the possibility of job cuts in 2019 despite an ongoing trade rift between the U.S. and China and continuing slowdown in the Asian country's economic growth, Reuters reported, citing CEO Daniel Zhang. "When the economy is bad, the biggest advantage for online platforms is to create jobs," Zhang reportedly said in a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

* NetEase Inc. is cutting up to 50% of its staff from several business units, including its e-commerce arm, educational product subsidiary and farm business. A NetEase spokesperson reportedly told TechNode that the company is restructuring to regain its core business focus and leverage competitive strengths better.

* Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. is cutting about 2,000 jobs, which represent 15% of Didi's total workforce, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* Sony Corp. appointed Jim Ryan president and CEO of its video game and digital entertainment subsidiary Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc., effective April 1. Ryan is replacing John Kodera, who will step into Ryan's former role as deputy president of the unit that operates Sony's PlayStation business.

Media industry moves

* Andy Ng stepped down as vice president of Tencent Music Entertainment Group, but will remain a senior consultant on strategic copyright partnerships, Tencent News reported.

* Zhang Wei resigned as a board director of Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. but will remain its president, Variety reported. The move follows a capital reorganization, which put separately listed Alibaba Pictures back under majority control of Alibaba Group.

* Wang Jun, a former director at Zhejiang Radio and Television Group, has joined Alibaba's entertainment business, Sina reported. His responsibilities are not clear yet, but a senior role at Youku Tudou Inc. is highly possible, according to the report.

* Seven West Media Ltd. Chief Digital Officer Clive Dickens resigned from the company to take on the newly created role of vice president for TV, content and product development at Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd., AdNews reported.

* Ita Buttrose has been appointed new chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Buttrose, the second woman to chair the ABC, founded the women's magazine Cleo.

* Hooq Digital Pte. Ltd. appointed Vishal Dembla chief commercial officer for its Southeast Asia operations, C21 Media reported. Dembla was most recently regional vice president and general manager for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia at Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

* Adam Ballesty, head of Foxtel Cable Television Pty Ltd.'s sports marketing, stepped down after six months in the company. According to AdNews, Ballesty is the second big marketing executive to leave after less than a year.

* Discovery Networks Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. named Megha Tata managing director of its South Asia operations, Mint reported. Tata joins the company from English news channel Business Television India.

* Buzzfeed Inc. laid off the general manager and editor-in-chief of its Australia operations. Simon Crerar, who was with the company for five years, is one of the casualties of Buzzfeed's plan to cut 200 staff worldwide to turnaround its financial performance, according to The Australian.

* Nine Entertainment Co. appointed Paul Brooks as director of sales for its Sydney operations. Prior to joining the company, Brooks was CEO of Australian media agency Carat.

Communications industry moves

* China Telecom Corp. Ltd. announced that Yang Jie has resigned from his position of chairman and has been appointed as chairman of China Mobile Communications Group Co. Ltd. Yang has also resigned from his positions of executive director, chairman and CEO of China Telecom due to the change in work arrangement.

* Maxis Bhd. appointed Gokhan Ogut as its permanent CEO, effective May 1. Ogut, currently COO at the Malaysian telecom operator, will replace Robert Nason, who has been interim CEO since April 2018.

Technology industry moves

* Xiaomi Corp. Taiwan General Manager Henman Lee is leaving the company and will be succeeded by Luo Yan, head of Xiaomi's Hong Kong operations, Business Next reported.

* Tan Xiaosheng, vice general manager of Qihoo 360 Software Co. Ltd., has resigned. The Beijing-based cybersecurity company lost another vice general manager, Qu Bing, in December 2018.

* Bilibili Inc. welcomed two new independent board directors, Li Feng and Jin Wenji. According to PingWest, the two directors are early investors in the video streaming platform.

* Google LLC's Google Cloud appointed Amitabh Jacob head of partnerships and alliances for India, The Economic Times (India) reported. Prior to joining the company, Jacob held a similar role at Amazon Web Services Inc.

* LinkedIn Corp. hired Andrea Rule to lead the enterprise sales of the company's marketing solutions business for Australia and New Zealand, B&T reported. Prior to joining the company, Rule was chief marketing officer of Carat Australia.

* Fujitsu Ltd. said 2,850 employees have applied for voluntary retirement under a restructuring drive, according to Jiji Press.

* Facebook Inc. hired former New Delhi Television Ltd. anchor Natasha Jog as its election integrity lead for India, according to The Economic Times (India).

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