Shopee rolls out spending caps for all employees, including economy-only flights and $30 meals, as the company braces for layoffs and financial trouble
- On September 15, Shopee CEO Forrest Li told employees the company would be restricting expense policies.
- Layoff conversations began September 19, affecting a low-single-digit percentage of Shopee employees.
Ecommerce giant Shopee is bracing for financial trouble, and it's preparing for layoffs and employee spending caps.
Forrest Li, the company's billionaire founder, chairman, and CEO, told employees a tightened expense policy would be instituted from October 1 onwards.
In a 1,000-word internal memo sent to staffers on September 15 and seen by Insider, Li said reimbursements for business travel will be capped at economy class flight fares. Hotel stays will be capped at $150 a night. The company will be capping international business travel meal expenses to $30 a day and will no longer reimburse internal or external meals or entertainment, the memo states.
"For local car transportation, we will use the most economical service option provided by local ride booking or taxi services," Li wrote in the memo.
"These new rules will apply to every Sailor, including myself and the entire leadership team," Li wrote, addressing the employees as "sailors."
Li acknowledged in the memo that news like this can be "difficult to accept," but that the company needed to go through a transition that might be "painful and stressful."
Shopee parent Sea Limited, a darling of the investment community, raised $6 billion through the sale of equity and convertible bonds in September 2021. At the time, the deal was the biggest fundraising seen in Southeast Asia. The company is now facing bleak fundraising prospects in the current volatile market, the Li memo outlines.
Li's memo came a few days before conversations began to lay off a low single-digit percentage of Shopee employees.
A company spokesperson told Insider the changes are "part of our ongoing efforts to optimize operating efficiency with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency across our business."
Singapore-based Shopee was launched in seven Southeast Asia markets in 2015 and now operates in 13 countries across Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe, including Brazil, Poland, and China. Among its main competitors are Alibaba-backed ecommerce company Lazada group, Akulaku, and Bukalapak, per CB Insights. The company employed 67,000 people as of the end of 2021, Bloomberg reported.
- Billionaire investor Mark Mobius says he's been able to get his money out of China, but investing in the country is still a 'dilemma' amid national security laws
- The Carnival cruise passenger who went overboard and remains missing was on his first cruise and it became his 'happy place,' his fiancée said
- Elon Musk told Chinese Tesla workers in a late night speech that their hard work 'warms my heart' — 6 weeks after some complained about bonus cuts
- Major train accidents that India witnessed in last 15 years
- Odisha rail crash: Rescuers try to raise buried coach, death toll at 238
- Largest road networks in the world – India beats China to take the second spot
- Manoj Bajpayee joins the league of on-screen lawyers like Pankaj Tripathi, Shriya Pilgaonkar & more
- List of famous things to buy in Lonavala