Wu Jihan returns to Bitmain for 60 days: crazy layoffs under seizure of power and prestige


Editor’s note: This article is from Interface News, 36% released with permission.Reporter | Edited by Zhou Yixue | Song Jianan Photo Credit: Pixabay The direction of Bitmain is just as unpredictable as the bitcoin world it is following.In October last year, after the abolition of all the co-founder and former chairman Zhanke Tuan’s positions in the company, co-founder Wu Jihan announced his return to Bitmain and rescued the company on the “precipice.”Two months later, as the first axe for rescue measures, Bitmain launched a new round of layoffs.Because Bitmain had already carried out a round of layoffs in half at the end of 2018, social media teased Bitmain as saying that “annual layoffs have begun again.”According to the interface news, the layoff ratio may be higher than 50%, and the AI ​​business line will be cut down, leaving only a small number of R & D and product teams.According to the Odaily Planet Daily report, the AI ​​team will be cut from 360 to less than 100 people, and the AI ​​teams in Chengdu, Wuhan, Shanghai, and Shenzhen will be almost eliminated.From the perspective of business lines, AI research and development is divided into chips, hardware, boards and servers, of which more than 100 server teams have been cut off directly, and other business lines have also been reduced to varying degrees.A Bitmain employee who was laid off told Interface News that after receiving the layoff notice, many employees refused to sign, and as a result, their fingerprinting rights were revoked and they were unable to enter the office.More than 30 people in the Shenzhen office were all laid off, and the office was cancelled on the 15th.Bitmain responded by saying, “Bitmain will continue to make normal personnel adjustments depending on market conditions and business development.” Within 60 days of Wu Jihan’s return to Bitmain, Bitmain employees experienced expectations from initial disappointment.The whole process.The IPO hopes are slim and the mining machine business market share has fallen by nearly half. It is still unknown whether Bitmain can be “rescue”.Contradictions have intensified Many Bitmain employees believe that the contradiction between Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan has been completely resolved in early 2019.At the time, the statement was “peaceful separation,” and the two agreed not to interfere with each other’s companies.After the separation, Bitmain’s business was solely responsible for the Zhanke Group. Wu Jihan left with some core personnel to set up a new startup, Matrixport, which focused on blockchain-related businesses, including digital currency exchanges, mining pools, and more.Bitmain invested in Wu Jihan’s new company.But in fact, the conflict between the two has never really been resolved.Wang Lu (a pseudonym) close to Wu Jihan told Interface News that Wu Jihan had a lot of affection for Bitmain and left because Zhan Ke’s regiment ousted Wu Jihan from his core business.Before that, Wu Jihan had no chance to challenge the Zhanke group, secretly waiting for the opportunity and contacting other investors, and finally made a comeback on October 29, 2019.Wu Jihan and Zhan Ketuan co-founded Bitmain in 2013, and the two have jointly managed the company under a “dual CEO” model for a long time.Wu Jihan is responsible for sales, mining pools, and mine operations, while Zhanke Tuan is responsible for the development of mining machine chips and AI chips.Inside the Bitmain company, Wu Jihan and Zhan Ke’s regiment each have their own teams. There is a clear distinction between the two parties, and people can hardly move to each other.But in 2018, employees increasingly felt the smell of gunpowder between the two CEOs, mainly from the planning of the company’s development direction.A Bitmain employee once told Interface News that Wu Jihan had an investment background and preferred an asset-light business. Zhanke Tuan pushed for AI chips. Both bosses were very stubborn and could not convince each other.In addition to disagreements on the company’s development path, Wu Jihan had long been dissatisfied with some of Zhanke’s actions.Wang Lu told Interface News that Zhanke Group had led Bitmain to do digital Fuzhou projects in its hometown of Fuzhou, and such projects should have been able to be undertaken by integrators of the size of Ali Huawei. At the time, Bitmain had only 3,000 people.about.Zhan insisted on investing a large amount of money in this project, which was considered by Wu Jihan as a waste of the company’s money to achieve both personal fame and fortune.Later, the Fuzhou government was re-elected, and another large company was introduced to lead the digital Fuzhou project, making Bitmain’s situation very embarrassing.Things like this continue to intensify the conflict between the two.Once, the Jenker regiment was drunk and said to several Bitmain executives present, “I have achieved financial freedom and have landed ashore.The implication is that for the future development of Bitmain and whether or not it can go public, it is an external matter for him and his family has also emigrated overseas. This attitude has disappointed some company executives and investors.Naturally gradually fell to Wu Jihan’s side. Also in 2019, Zhanke Group fully managed Bitmain’s 2019, the company’s cash flow pillar mining machine business can have serious problems. The first is the slow-moving mining machine. A former Bitmain employee revealed that the company’s mainThe price of ant mining machine is much higher than that of competitors, coupled with the cold winter of the currency circle, many of the machines in the stock can’t be sold. On the other hand, the Shenma mining machine founded by rival Yang Zuoxing quickly seized the market, and bitcoinThe mainland has formed a trend of court resistance. “At the peak, the market share of ant mining machines reached 70%, and it is not known whether it is 50%.The market share of Shenma Mining Machinery has risen rapidly, and now has 40%.”Wu Jihan” turned over “” I must come back to save this company and pull the company by the cliff. “At the general meeting held on the day of return on October 29, 2019, Wu Jihan said with emotion. The employees recalled that the company’s return to Wu Jihan was dominated by welcoming attitude and a kind of “popular atmosphere”As soon as the open letter was sent, Wu Jihan fired the head of HR in Bitmain (the original Huawei HR introduced by Zhan Ke Mission at the end of 2018) and reappointed a new head of HR Suo Chao. On November 2, Wu Jihan issued a thirdHe sent an e-mail to announce a raise for all employees. Subsequently, he also convened a shareholders meeting to abolish the special voting rights of Zhanke Group. Previously, both Zhanke Group and Wu Jihan held Class B stocks of Bitmain, and other shareholders held Class A stocks. BThe stocks have a voting right of 1:10. After the abolition of Zhan’s special voting right, the Wu Jihan camp occupied more than 50% of the voting rights. “The stubbornness and stubbornness did not heed reasonable advice, and suicidal operations caused huge losses.During this period, Wu Jihan also frequently criticized the Zanke group in the circle of friends. According to interface news, the Zanke group when he was dismissed was still exhibiting at the Shenzhen Expo. At first, he did not believe the news was true. Until it was confirmed, Immediately flew back to Beijing. On November 7th, the Zanke group made a statement for the first time in a circle of friends, “Bitmain is our child, and I will do my best to protect her!I will take up legal weapons so that all attempts to harm and use Bitmain cannot succeed!But in the eyes of some employees, Wu Jihan’s return is more positive for Bitmain. Not long ago, CCTV broadcasted news of the Central Political Bureau’s collective learning on the current status and trends of blockchain technology development.It is believed that the status of the blockchain is recognized at the national level. Wu Jihan is more influential in the blockchain circle. Even when employees heard that Wu Jihan was dismissed from the Zhanke group and changed the company’s legal representative, the firstThe response was, “This may be a play directed by the two bosses.”However, this honeymoon period did not last long. The aforementioned former Bitmain employee told Interface News that some Matrixport people brought back by Wu Jihan worked in both companies, causing a lot of bitterness among Bitmain employees. Later, the companyMany executives were fired or resigned. This was interpreted by employees as Wu Jihan’s need to clean up people associated with the Jenke regiment. For a time, people inside the company were nervous and the atmosphere was tense. The crazy layoffs further exacerbated the company’s turmoil.According to the interface news, it is learned that more than half of all employees in Bitmain may be laid off, especially the size of the AI ​​business line, which is completely beyond the expectations of AI business line executives.Former Bitmain AI business line executive Zhang Chao (pseudonym) told Interface News that after Wu Jihan returned to Bitmain, the information conveyed in the AI ​​department’s full-member meeting and executive meeting was “You do the AI ​​business normally, I alsoI do n’t understand. ”A Bitmain PR report released at the time also mentioned that as early as 2015, Wu Jihan proposed to enter the artificial intelligence and startedIt explored the AI ​​business. The meaning conveyed was that Wu Jihan was optimistic about AI earlier than Zhanke regiment to stabilize the army. However, Wu Jihan also mentioned that considering that Bitcoin production will be halved, the company’s cash flow will be affected.Impact, need to make personnel adjustments. At that time, most of the executives of the AI ​​business also agreed that there was indeed redundancy in the time of the head of Zhanke’s regiment. Correction was reasonable, so they submitted a batch of layoffs.But what happened later became out of control.On January 2, the day before Bitmain appointed Wang Jun as CEO of the AI ​​Algorithms business line, the layoffs list changed dramatically.Zhang Chao used “overturning” to describe this kind of back-and-forth contrast-the degree of “optimization” turned out to be the layoff of almost all AI business lines.More than 80% of the AI ​​product delivery team was cut, the sales team was almost completely destroyed, and the solution team was all cut.As for the reasons for the size of the layoffs, the company did not give a specific explanation, but said that “strategic direction adjustment”.Wang Lu told Interface News that the layoffs were not to clean up the people in Zhanke Group, but were strategic layoffs, with the goal of maintaining the main business.”Externally speaking, it is a strategic contraction and return to product development. Whether this statement is true or not, but even the solution and pre-sales team have been cut off, I think Bitmain’s AI is impossible to do.” Zhang Chao said.According to Zhang Chao, Bitmain’s AI business is very promising in 2019, with annual revenue of 80 million to 90 million, while the annual revenue of AI business in 2018 was only several hundred thousand.The main reason is that the domestic trend of supporting domestic chips will begin to rise in 2019.At that time, other unicorn companies with AI chips were still in the “practice” stage of the chip because of their late start, and the core AI chip of Bitmain’s AI business has gone through three generations, matured, and can be sold on a large scale.Taking advantage of the opportunity of domestic substitution, Betta quickly increased the revenue of the AI ​​chip business.After the news of the major layoffs, on January 7th, the Zhanke Group, which had no further action, issued a second open letter, accusing it of “a wrong decision near suicide.”There are less than half of the staff, and the friends and merchants are a team of thousands. With such a small and capable team supporting an Al business of such strength and scale, how can it be optimized because the Al business is not yet profitable? Without investment, whichThe output of the future? “Zhanke Tuan said,” For the benefit of Bitmain employees and shareholders, I must stand up. “A number of people familiar with the matter told Interface News that Zhanke Tuan is actively attracting Bitmain’s layoffs, but has not made anyNext action or plan.According to media reports, the Zanke Regiment also convened a shareholders’ meeting on December 9 last year, demanding that the existing director be removed and that he be elected as the sole director, but was rejected due to loss of majority voting rights.After the abolition of special voting rights, the Zanke regiment filed a lawsuit in Cayman in December, asking the court to find the resolution invalid.Both parties are currently in the process of litigation.Due to lawsuits between the two major shareholders, Bitmain’s IPO process, which began in mid-2019, was also interrupted.When competitor Jia Nan Yunzhi successfully landed on the NYSE, Bitmain’s IPO hopes for the largest mining machine maker were getting slimmer.”The possibility of an IPO is basically gone. Especially in the face of legal proceedings, it is impossible for Bitmain to make an IPO without solving the lawsuit.” Wang Lu said.No matter which party ultimately seized absolute control, it became a reality that Bitmain urgently needed to be “saved.”.

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