Tesla Cancels Online Job Fairs in China

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HONG KONG—

Tesla Inc.

TSLA -0.89%

has canceled three of its recruitment live stream events for China scheduled for June, days after Chief Executive

Elon Musk

warned that the company was about to cut jobs.

The electric-auto maker had advertised online events for June 16, 26 and 30 for positions in different parts of the company: sales and deliveries; research and development; as well as supply-chain jobs such as procurement. But users subscribed to the events that were posted on the company’s recruitment channel on the messaging app

WeChat

were sent mobile notifications late Thursday informing them of the cancellations, which were seen by The Wall Street Journal. No reason was given.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Elon Musk has cultivated close ties with Beijing to build Tesla’s business in China. Now that he is buying Twitter and focusing on free speech, WSJ looks at how China has used the social-media platform to promote its views, and why that’s raising concerns. Photo Illustration: Sharon Shi

In a memo sent to staff last week, Mr. Musk said Tesla planned to cut 10% of its salaried workforce, saying the company had “become overstaffed in many areas.” He added that the cuts wouldn’t apply to workers building cars and battery packs or installing solar panels, but didn’t mention whether any cuts would be made at its China operation.

Tesla has become increasingly reliant on its Shanghai Gigafactory, which contributed to more than half of the company’s global deliveries in the first quarter of 2022, according to calculations based on data from China Passenger Car Association and Tesla’s quarterly results.

Since then, Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai have taken a toll on the plant, with production sliding to about 10,000 vehicles in April and car sales for the month totaling just 1,512, down 94% from the year-earlier period. Production recovered in May to about 33,500 units, while car sales reached 32,165, about half of pre-lockdown levels. Around 70% of the vehicles delivered from the plant were exported to other markets, including Europe, Australia and Japan, Chinese car data showed.

Tesla’s recruitment webpage on WeChat remained open on Friday, and candidates could still apply for more than 120 openings from the three job categories promoted by the now-canceled events.

Akin to job fairs, the live streams have become the company’s main hiring events in China. Past events, which attracted tens of thousands of viewers, included chats with current employees and recruitment managers and virtual tours of company facilities. Hosts would respond to viewers’ questions dropped into the broadcasts’ chat box.

During Shanghai’s Covid lockdown in April, the local government granted Tesla early approval to resume operations under a closed-loop system and to set up a special work team to guarantee production. Tesla said Thursday that production capacity at its Shanghai plant has fully recovered.

Tesla is also building a design center in Beijing and has established a data center in Shanghai.

Write to Selina Cheng at [email protected]

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