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Yahoo exits China, closing R&D center

Yahoo is closing its only remaining office in China and laying off between 200 and 300 employees there, news reports said on Wednesday.

The moves are part of CEO Marissa Mayer's efforts to rein in costs at the aging Internet company. Yahoo's office in Beijing, the company's only physical presence in mainland China, has housed an R&D center employing engineers.

"We will be consolidating certain functions into fewer offices, including to our headquarters in Sunnyvale, California," a Yahoo representative told the Wall Street Journal.

Yahoo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since October, the company has cut between 700 and 900 employees in locations including Bangalore, India, and Canada.

The layoffs in China represent about 2 percent of Yahoo's total workforce of 12,500 as of the end of last year.

The Beijing R&D center was focused on Yahoo's "global business," according to its website, employing engineers to develop new ways to personalize Yahoo content and improve its ad targeting.

Yahoo and other U.S.-based Web companies have faced issues around Internet censorship and local competition in China. Yahoo stopped offering its email service in China in 2013, asking users to transfer their accounts to Alimail, which is owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Mayer said in February that Yahoo would spin off its 15 percent stake in Alibaba, one of China's largest Internet companies, into a separate company.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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