(Yicai Global) Feb. 27 -- A co-founder of Bitmain Technologies Holding, the world's largest producer of crypto mining equipment, is allegedly downgrading his role in the company to pursue another fintech endeavor as the firm reportedly cuts at least half of its workforce amid regulatory hurdles that have aggravated the global cryptocurrency market slowdown.
Wu Jihan is no longer overseeing the firm's core business, Chinese media outlet Caijing reported yesterday, citing an insider at the Beijing-based company. Wu will start another business that involves decentralized finance, blockchain news site U.Today reported on Feb. 25. Bitmain denied Wu's departure, according to Caijing's report.
The firm will reduce its headcount of 50 percent to 70 percent, an employee at key position said to Caijing, citing HR. Bitmain will scale back to focus on its core mining business, as well as retain operations that generate cash flow, but it will not pursue expansion into new fields, the source added. The firm has been laying off employees in the past three months, downsizing the research and development team that Wu headed, as well as staff working with artificial intelligence.
The company, along with two other Chinese mining rig makers, sought to go public in Hong Kong last year, but their applications were rejected in January as Charles Li, the bourse's chief executive, said that the firms lack 'suitability' to get listed.
Founded in 2013, Bitmain once had 3,000 staff members and after its B round of financing, the company was valued at around USD12 billion. The firm, which claims to be the second-biggest fabless chip designer in China, pulled in net profit of USD742 million over the first six months of 2018, more than its full-year earnings in 2017.
Editor: Emmi Laine