Page Nav


Gradient Skin



Responsive Ad

Tech workers are left in the lurch when Sea's e-commerce branch, Shopee, takes back job offers

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - Sources say that Shopee , the biggest e-commerce company in Southeast Asia, has taken back dozens of job ...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Sources say that Shopee, the biggest e-commerce company in Southeast Asia, has taken back dozens of job offers in the last two weeks. This happened soon after Shopee's parent company, Sea Ltd, reported that its losses were growing and that its sales were growing much more slowly.

Reuters talked to four people who were part of a WeChat group of about 60 people that was set up to talk about Shopee taking back job offers. These people said that Shopee took back their job offers just days before they were supposed to start work.

One engineer, 27 years old, asked that only his first name, Wang, be used. He said he got a call from Bytedance, the company that owns TikTok, a week after he moved to Singapore from Shanghai, where he had been working.

Wang, who had already paid a deposit to rent a house, said, "At first I thought it was a scam call, but then I found out it was Shopee cancelling many offers at once."

Sea, which is based in Singapore, said that it recently took down some Shopee offers but wouldn't say how many.

"A number of roles at Shopee are no longer open because some tech teams have changed how they hire. We are working together to help those who have been hurt, "a person from the company said.

The move comes after Sea cut jobs in the past few months. Staff at the gaming livestream app Booyah!, which is part of Sea's gaming unit Garena, were told that they would be fired and that the app would no longer be updated, according to multiple sources who spoke to Reuters. Projects at Sea's development unit were also shut down, the sources said.

Media reports from earlier this year also said that Shopee had cut jobs in Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Latin America. Shopee didn't say anything about those reports.


As recently as March, Sea said it would keep investing in Shopee, which competes with Alibaba Group Holding's Southeast Asian arm Lazada, and that growth for the unit was still at the top of its mind.

But Sea took back its e-commerce forecast for the year last month. Forrest Li, the company's founder and CEO, talked about how the market is becoming more uncertain and how important it is to put profit and efficiency first. In the second quarter, Sea had a net loss of $931 million. This was more than double the loss it had in the same time last year.

Ke Yan, lead analyst at Singapore-based DZT Research, said, "Their tone has never been more pessimistic." He also said that Sea's plan to use Garena's cash flow to make up for Shopee's cash burn was unsustainable.

He said that the way Sea handled the layoffs was "ugly and embarrassing" and could hurt its reputation.

In October of last year, Sea's market value went up to more than $200 billion because its Garena unit became very popular during the pandemic. Since then, however, its shares have gone down and are now only worth $27 billion.

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower said that Shopee had been the subject of complaints and that it was in touch with the company to find out more. It also said that in these kinds of situations, both sides should try to find a solution that works for everyone.

Reuters talked to four people who said that Shopee had offered them a month's pay as compensation. In cases where people had to fly in from other countries, Shopee would also pay for their plane tickets and a place to stay temporarily.

Even though the possibility of legal action has been talked about in the WeChat Group, those who lost their jobs because of Shopee are most worried about finding new jobs.

"The price of going to court is too high. I just want to get a new job and move on "said one of the four people Reuters talked to, who didn't want to be named.

Wang, for his part, wants to look for work in Singapore.

"The cost of going back to China is too high, and the economy there makes it hard to find a new job," he said.

Reponsive Ads