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Grab shares have fallen about 1% since the Singapore-based tech giant announced decision to cut 1,000 jobs, or 11% of its workforce. The layoffs are part of efforts to manage costs and ensure the company’s long-term growth.
“I want to be clear that we are not doing this as a shortcut to profitability,” CEO Anthony Tan said in a note to staff on Tuesday night.
“We must adapt to the environment in which we operate. Change has never been this fast. Technology such as generative AI is evolving at breakneck speed. The cost of capital has gone up, directly impacting the competitive landscape,” he wrote.
This is Grab’s largest set of layoffs since the pandemic, surpassing its first round in 2020 that saw the company reduce its headcount by 5%, affecting about 360 employees.
In its most recent earnings report, Grab’s revenue jumped 130% year over year to US$525 million in the first quarter of 2023. The firm attributed the increase to growth across all of its segments, with deliveries contributing the most in revenue.
“With or without this exercise, we’re on track to hit group adjusted EBITDA breakeven this year,” Tan noted.
Grab currently leads the food delivery market across Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in terms of gross merchandise value, according to venture builder Momentum Works. However, the company’s segment GMV growth was stagnant in 2022.
While Grab has delayed job cuts until now, its regional peers GoTo Group and Sea Group have already shrunk their workforces in a bid to stay lean amid the current economic downturn.
Sea had shaved 7,000 off its total headcount from June through November 2022. Some of the more recent layoffs were for its ecommerce unit Shopee, which retrenched around 100 employees.
GoTo, meanwhile, recently slashed 600 more jobs as it focuses on its core operations, adding to the 1,200 people it laid off in November 2022.
See also: Grab’s GMV is stagnant. It needs to reverse that to break even
Note: Update (June 21, 10:54 a.m. SGT): This article was updated to include information about Grab stock.