Southeast Asian e-commerce company Shopee has canceled many job openings in the past two weeks as its parent company sees a decline in growth.
Shopee, the largest e-commerce company in Southeast Asia based in Singapore, has canceled dozens of job openings in the past two weeks, multiple sources said. A management shift that began shortly after parent company Sea reported mounting losses and a sharp slowdown in revenue growth.
Four candidates interviewed by Reuters said the offers they responded to were canceled just days before they started work.
These witnesses had participated shortly before a group discussion on Chinese messenger WeChat that brought together around sixty people to discuss withdrawing Shopee’s offers.
Job cuts at sea
A 27-year-old engineer who requested that only his first name, Wang, be used, said the call took place a week after he arrived in Singapore. Wang had just gotten out of a job in Shanghai at Bytedance, which owns TikTok.
“I thought it was a scam…until I realized it was a general cancellation of Shopee offers“, said Wang, who had already paid an advance to rent a house.
Sea Group, also based in Singapore, said it had recently canceled some offers on Shopee, but declined to say how many.
“Due to adjustments to the hiring plans of some technical teams, some positions on Shopee are no longer available. We work closely together to support those affected“, said a company representative.
The move follows other recent job cuts at Sea. Employees at Booyah!, the streaming platform that is part of Garena, Sea’s gaming arm, have been told they will be fired and the app will no longer be updated, sources told Reuters, adding that Sea’s development arm projects were also closed.
The media has also said in recent months that Shopee has reduced its workforce in Southeast Asia, Mexico and Latin America. Shopee declined to comment on this information.
In March, Sea said he wanted to continue investing in Shopee, which competes with Lazada, the Southeast Asian arm of Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holding, and that its growth remains the focus of his concerns.
But last month, Sea reversed its e-commerce forecast for the year. Founder and CEO Forrest Li noted an increasingly uncertain market landscape and emphasized the need to prioritize profitability and efficiency. Sea posted a net loss of $931 million in the second quarter, more than double the loss in the same period a year earlier.
“Your tone has never been so pessimisticsaid Ke Yan, principal analyst at Singapore-based DZT Research, who added that Sea’s strategy of using Garena’s money to offset Shopee’s shortfall was unsustainable.
And to add that Sea’s handling of layoffs was “repulsive and embarrassing” and will likely damage your reputation.
Sharp drop in value
Sea saw its value soar to more than $200 billion last October when its Garena unit gained popularity during the pandemic, but its shares fell to just $27 billion.
Singapore’s Ministry of Labor said the relevant authorities are aware of complaints about Shopee and are in contact with the company to find out more, but also said that in such situations the parties must find an amicable solution in good faith. .
The four people interviewed by Reuters said Shopee offered a month’s salary as compensation. And for people who came from abroad, the company will reimburse the cost of airfare and temporary accommodation.
While the possibility of legal action was raised on the WeChat chat group, those left behind say they are more concerned with finding new work.
“The cost of legal action is very high. I just want to move on and find a new job“, said one of four people interviewed by Reuters who declined to be identified.
For his part, Wang wants to continue his job search in Singapore.
“The cost of returning to China is very high, it is very difficult to find a new job given the country’s economic situation.“, he declared.