(Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said it plans to hire 15,000 people this year, pushing back on reports that the Chinese tech firm is laying off employees. 

In a statement released on Weibo on Thursday, the Chinese e-commerce platform said its “six major business divisions will need to hire 15,000 new recruits in total.” The company said it would recruit 3,000 university graduates. It characterized reports of layoffs as “rumours” and said employee departures are part of the “normal flow.”

Alibaba’s cloud division has begun a round of job cuts that could reduce its staff by about 7%, Bloomberg News reported earlier this week. The company is offering severance packages or transfers to other parts of the Alibaba empire, as it prepares the fast-growing cloud unit for a spinoff and eventual initial public offering.

Read More: Alibaba’s Cloud Arm Is Said to Cut 7% of Staff in Overhaul (3) 

The e-commerce giant has said it’s pursuing a six-way split of its operations, as it adapts to slower growth under intensified regulatory scrutiny in the Chinese technology industry. Alibaba Cloud, one of the biggest divisions, is joining the Cainiao logistics division and international commerce in pursuing independent fundraising and potential listings. 

Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang outlined details of the historic shakeup for the first time earlier this month. The group, which doesn’t detail staffing at separate units, employed more than 235,000 people as of March.

Alibaba pointed to its recruiting system as evidence that the company is still hiring. “We have never stopped recruiting and cultivating outstanding talents,” the company said in its statement. 

Alibaba shares fell about 3% in US trading. 

--With assistance from Mayumi Negishi.

(Updates with context on earlier layoff reports)

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