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Samsung has been facing a tough time in the smartphone market owing to cheaper models offering premium features especially in the Chinese market Getty Images

Samsung has released its latest sustainability report revealing that the company considerably downsized its workforce by cutting thousands of jobs in Europe, China, Latin America and Korea through 2015. New recruits were, however, hired in the Southeast Asia and Japan regions where the company's product plants and R&D centres are based.

The report reveals that 325,677 people were employed by Samsung globally in 2015, a slight increase from the 319,208 people it employed in 2014. However, over 17,000 jobs were cut across Europe, Latin America, China and even its home country Korea.

Its Korean headquarters saw 2,500 people go, which was also the first reduction since the 2008 financial crisis. Close to 3,000 jobs were cut from Europe and Latin America.

The biggest cut, however, came for its Chinese workforce where 12,000 employees were let go. Until 2013 Samsung had more than 60,000 employees in China alone and was a dominant player in that market. Over the years Samsung's sales in China have considerably declined owing to competition from younger manufacturers like Huawei and Xaiomi, which have been eating away at its market share.

On the other hand, employee numbers shot up in the past year in Japan and Southeast Asia with an additional 28,000 people joining the workforce. For Southeast Asia in particular, the company has ramped up its production and R&D in places like India. It has a strong research centre in Bengaluru where testing for mobiles, tablets, smartwatches and other consumer products are carried out. In fact the Southeast Asia and Japan region workforce combined make up 35.1% of the total workforce of the company, the highest for any region.

Recently, there were reports that Samsung may shift its European headquarters post Brexit from London to some other country, most likely Poland. If the plan goes through the UK workforce for Samsung could also see some job cuts.