Sea Ltd (冬海) is making its first major job cuts in areas spanning shopping and food, joining other tech firms downsizing this year in anticipation of unprecedented market and economic volatility.
Southeast Asia’s largest tech firm plans to let employees go across its e-commerce division, Shopee, Chris Feng (馮陟旻), the unit’s chief executive officer, said in an e-mail to employees seen by Bloomberg News.
It would reduce headcount across its ShopeeFood and ShopeePay divisions in Southeast Asia.
The cuts would also extend across its Mexico, Argentina and Chile teams, as well as the cross-border team supporting Spain.
Sea faces increasing pressure to slash costs as growth in its main commerce business comes off a high during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While mobile gaming has proven more resilient, the company has lost about US$160 billion of its market value since a high in October last year as investors begin to scrutinize its longer-term trajectory.
“Given elevated uncertainty in the broader economy, we believe that it is prudent to make certain difficult, but important adjustments to enhance our operational efficiency and focus our resources,” Feng wrote in the e-mail.
He said the job cuts are to ensure that the business remains in the “best possible position” to continue scaling sustainably.
Consumers emerging from prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns are cutting back on online purchases, especially with the war in Ukraine and rising interest rates clouding the global economic outlook.
More than 132,000 tech jobs have been cut since the start of the pandemic, data from tracking site Layoffs.fyi showed.
The dismissals come after Sea revised its full-year outlook for e-commerce sales, its main source of revenue, to US$8.5 billion to US$9.1 billion from its previous guidance of US$8.9 billion to US$9.1 billion.
The company also posted a wider loss for the first three months of this year as expenses soared.
The Singaporean giant is now gradually reducing its overseas footprint and periphery businesses as competition takes a toll.
That is a shift from the platform’s previous stance of continued spending for global growth.
“This reallocation of resources to further focus on our priorities will help us grow our business even better,” Feng wrote. “While we need to continue to optimize our efficiency, we are also generally still growing and hiring as needed to support that growth.”
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