Editor’s note: updated with short response from Lazada’s communications team

E-commerce firm Lazada, the Southeast Asian arm of Alibaba Group, has laid off staff not only in Singapore but across its markets in Southeast Asia, a staff from Lazada Malaysia told TNGlobal on Sunday.

“Not only Singapore, Malaysia is also affected…and all markets. I saw marketing, marketing solutions, commercial, growth. All affected,” the person spoke on condition of anonymity. “But I don’t have the numbers (the number of employees laid off).

Founded in 2012, Lazada Group is a e-commerce platform with a presence in six countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The new reorganization plan will be announced by Jan 15,” the person added. “For the Malaysia market, I heard the compensation was ‘ok’. But the bad thing is town hall meeting is not done before the whole hoo-ha. People are kind of shocked with the announcement,” the person said.

“There were news report about Lazada shutting down LazMall in Vietnam. I think this is not true as of now,” the person added.

“It is inaccurate that LazMall is shutting down in Vietnam,” Lazada told TNGlobal in an email, without elaborating on other issues.

Meanwhile in Singapore, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and its affiliate Food Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) said on Saturday that FDAWU and Lazada Singapore Pte Ltd have made some progress with regard to the recent retrenchment exercise at Lazada between Jan 3 to Jan 5 that affected mainly PME employees.

“Lazada have assured FDAWU that they will fully cooperate and provide any necessary information to FDAWU to ensure that the retrenchment exercise was carried out fairly,” the organizations said in a statement.

FDAWU have accepted Lazada’s apology for not consulting them prior to the retrenchment exercise. Both parties have agreed to work closely together and to put workers’ interests at the forefront of their negotiations. Lazada have also assured FDAWU that they will be consulted in advance for any future exercises, they added.

“In terms of retrenchment benefits, affected workers were told that they would receive two weeks’ salary for every year of service. FDAWU do not find this satisfactory and are negotiating for additional benefits for affected eligible workers. The Ministry of Manpower will continue to facilitate these negotiations,” they said.

Last Wednesday, Singapore-based media The Edge Singapore reported that Lazada has laid off some staff from its Singapore office on Jan 3. Junior and senior employees from multiple departments, including the commercial and marketing teams, were affected, according to the report.

The Edge Singapore added that employees received calendar invites for individual meetings with the human resources department on Jan 3 at the end of the Jan 2 work day.

Lazada Singapore has also operated without an in-house communications department since last year, the report added.

Meanwhile, according to CNBC, Lazada’s Singapore spokesperson did not confirm that staff were being laid off, but told CNBC on Wednesday: “We are making proactive adjustments to transform our workforce, to better position ourselves for a more agile, streamlined way of working to meet future business needs.”

“This transformation necessitates that we reassess our workforce requirements and operational structure to ensure Lazada is better positioned to future-proof our business and people,” the company reportedly said.

According to Reuters’ earlier report, Lazada was founded in 2012 by Germany’s Rocket Internet technology incubator to become Southeast Asia’s answer to Amazon.com. Alibaba acquired a controlling stake in Lazada for about $1 billion in 2016 in what was the Chinese firm’s biggest foreign deal at that time, the report added.

In Southeast Asia, Lazada competes with Singapore-headquartered Shopee and Indonesia’s Tokopedia, among other online shopping platforms.

The news development came after several E-commerce and tech companies in Southeast Asia dismissed staff to stay afloat last year.

In March last year, it was reported that e-commerce giant Shopee has laid off around 200 employees in Indonesia, mostly from the customer services team. In the same month, Indonesia’s biggest tech firm PT Goto Gojek Tokopedia announced another round of layoffs to streamline the organisation and boosting the company’s profitability.

In June, Singapore-based super app Grab Holdings has cut 1,000 jobs. Its Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan said fundamental step-changes in its operating model and cost structure are needed to build Grab’s competitive moat for the longer-term.

It was reported in November that Malaysia-headquartered used car platform Carsome have cut “hundreds of jobs” in a bid to reach profit.

Alibaba’s Southeast Asian arm Lazada marks new year with layoffs in Singapore – report