(Yicai Global) Dec. 26 -- Juul Labs, which started selling its products in the world's biggest tobacco market less than four months ago, is leaving China after the country banned online sales of e-cigarettes, according to a local news report.
Juul's gradual market withdrawal has left its Shenzhen office almost empty, Bluehole reported today. A manager told the employees earlier this month that the San Francisco-headquartered firm has stopped paying for their social benefits, the report added.
The vaping giant's Suzhou branch has cut its headcount, an industry insider told Bluehole. Many workers in the Beijing office have resigned, the news outlet learned from ex-employees.
The company's products were removed from Chinese e-commerce sites JD.Com and Tmall just days after their launches in September. Last month, China barred online sales of e-cigarettes, citing its goal of protecting adolescents from the emerging tobacco product.
Juul has suffered a blow amid rising global concerns about the dangers of vaping. Its future looks even more uncertain as President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bill to raise the legal age of buying e-cigarettes to 21 from 18. In November, Juul said it will lay off 650 employees in the US, equaling 16 percent of its global headcount.
The winds of change have shaken up the company's executive ranks. This month, Juul replaced the legal representative of its Shanghai-based arm to Zhang Pingqiang from Alberto Hernandez-Martinez, head of global treasury in-house bank and financial risk management, according to registration data.
Editor: Emmi Laine