On Tuesday, the CEO of Singapore-based tech giant Grab announced that it would dismiss around 1,000 workers or about 11% of its staff.
Before becoming the largest ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia and branching into financial services like digital payments, Grab started in 2012 as a taxi booking app in Malaysia.
By the end of this year, the business hopes to break even after decreasing its losses.
CEO Anthony Tan claims that the company is not doing this as a shortcut to profitability but more of a reconstruction of the company that requires a painful but necessary step.
The primary goal of this is to strategically reorganise the company so that it can move faster, work smarter, and rebalance its resources across its portfolio in line with the company’s longer-term strategies.
2020 saw Grab lay off 360 workers, or approximately 5% of its full-time workforce, as the pandemic reduced demand for its services.
Grab acquired Uber’s regional operations in 2018, solidifying its position as Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company and putting an end to a bitter rivalry with its US-based rival.
In 2021, after merging with a SPAC (special-purpose acquisition company), the business went public on Wall Street. According to Grab at the time, the deal represented the largest-ever US public market debut by a Southeast Asian company and valued the business at US$39.6 billion (RM184.1 billion).
But its shares have plummeted since debuting at US$13 (RM60). They were selling at around US$3.40 (RM16) on Tuesday.
Technology companies in Southeast Asia have been reducing their workforces as they prioritise profitability. One such company is Singapore-based Sea Ltd., which last year cut more than 7,000 workers, frozen salaries, and reduced spending. GoTo, Grab’s competitor in Indonesia, cut 600 positions this year in addition to 1,300 jobs last year.