Tech Layoffs Rise in Southeast Asia amid Difficult Macroeconomic Challenges

This year saw an upsurge in layoffs among Southeast Asian tech startups as losses increased due to macro headwinds and investors urged companies to extend their runways, with GoTo Group, Glints and Carousell being the most recent firms to reduce payrolls – within the last 30 days.

Carousell, the online marketplace, stated last week that it was laying off 10% of its workforce, or around 110 people.

In November, GoTo Group, an Indonesian giant formed by the merger of ride-hailing company Gojek and e-commerce platform Tokopedia, slashed 1,300 positions, or nearly 12% of its workforce.

Both companies mentioned difficult macroeconomic challenges.

They’ve reduced their workforce alongside Sea Group and other regional businesses. More than 7,000 people at Sea Group were reportedly laid off during the past six months, as reported by the local media.

Jia Jih Chai, co-founder and CEO of Singapore-based e-commerce brand aggregator Rainforest, told CNBC that the company’s founders are being careful by limiting costs in the current market to guarantee there is sufficient runway until late 2024. 

“There are signs that we are entering into a recession, if we are not already in one. Therefore, customer demand is likely to be slower in 2023,” said Chai.