HONG KONG, Jan 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Private educator New Oriental has laid off 60,000 people read more , part of a massive wave of redundancies coming out of the after-school tutoring industry after President Xi Jinping converted it to non-profit. The company, whose stock is down 90% since, is casting for ways to reinvent itself, including selling fruits and vegetables online.
That follows an odd trend set by technology peers that have wandered into agriculture. E-commerce giants JD.com (9618.HK), and Alibaba (9988.HK), and video-games group NetEase (9999.HK) have all gone into pig-farming, for instance. That won’t generate much employment for kids lacking animal husbandry degrees.
A broader slowdown in the consumer technology sector is bad news for the nearly 10 million college students mainland universities pour into the jobs market every year. Moreover, Beijing’s latest push into hard sciences, artificial intelligence and so on will demand far more advanced degrees. For now, the official solution is to expand government jobs, but many graduates will have to go back to school or face unemployment. (By Pete Sweeney)
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