KE Holdings, the operator of China's largest real estate marketplace and brokerage Beike, has laid off workers in Shanghai according to reports in the country.
While KE did not respond to a request for confirmation around the situation, according to reports in China the NYSE listed company has let staff go from its Shanghai operations in response to a cooling of the real estate market brought on by recent shifts in government policy.
The layoffs are reportedly from the company's financial division which offers financial products to home buyers and which, prior to layoffs, was reported to have some 600 employees. Information around the number of staff being made redundant was not available.
Looking at the company's SEC filings from the last few years, the number of employees at KE Holdings can be said to fluctuate at the best of times. From 2018 to 2019 employee compensation expenses went down by 20% before shooting up nearly 200% in 2020 to around $331 million.
KE Holdings is the largest portal operating company in the world and undoubtedly also one of the largest brokerage firms in the world by gross transaction volume as well ($536 billion in 2020). The firm owns and operates the market-leading Beike portal which last year had 3.7 million authenticated existing property listings.
In other news coming out of China, Beike's rival property vertical Anjuke may pull back from plans to go public. According to Bloomberg the 58.com-owned portal had been looking at a $1 billion IPO but has now shelved those plans because of cooling investor enthusiasm for tech stocks and the travails of the Chinese property market.