Shopee, Sea Limited‘s e-commerce behemoth based in Singapore, is set to implement layoffs across its operations in Latin America, impacting teams in Mexico, Argentina, and Chile. The information was first reported on TechInAsia, an English-language media company that focuses on the Asian business and technology market.
The job cuts were announced to employees in a meeting last Monday (13) led by an executive from Sea Group, but, according to the article, the reasons for the adjustments were not explained. In addition to Latin America, ShopeeFood and ShopeePay teams in Southeast Asia will also be impacted – Shopee is present in Singapore, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia.
At first, there are no reports of layoffs in the Shopee team in Brazil.
The layoffs would have been the path Shopee found to “optimize operations in certain segments and markets”, according to an email sent to employees by CEO Chris Feng and seen by TechInAsia. In the statement, Feng said the move will allow the company to “continue scaling sustainably, and ultimately, win”.
This is not the first cost-cutting move made by Shopee in 2022. In March, the e-commerce platform closed its operations in France less than a year after arriving in the European country; the same month, it shut down operations in India, laying off more than 300 employees.
Shopee in Brazil
Brazil is today one of Shoppe’s largest markets. In May, the company reported a 64% growth in revenue in Q1 2022 to $1.5 billion, noting that it managed to nearly halve “the loss per order” (an essential operational indicator of the company) in Brazil.
The growth of the base of local sellers in Brazil is also at an accelerated pace. If there were more than 1 million Brazilian sellers at the end of last year on Shopee, now, according to the new balance sheet, there are more than 2 million. More than 85% of the company’s sales in the country already occur via local sellers.
Also in the report, the company explained that Brazilian sellers range from first-time SMEs to more established brands.
Shopee’s strategy of investing in local vendors is right: to remain competitive and grow in Latin America, more and more international platforms are betting on a hybrid strategy that combines the operational advantages of a global brand with local service, such as Amazon and from AliExpress.
The study Beyond Borders 2021/2022, published by the Brazilian fintech EBANX, which also owns LABS, shows that marketplaces’ hybridization allows fairer competition between global and local players.