Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak cuts 10% jobs to pare costs

Photo: Bukalapak

Indonesia e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak has confirmed reports that it has laid off 100s of employees and said that it is discontinuing a number of functions, as it looks to cut down costs.

In a statement, the company claims that the layoffs were part of an efficiency drive, which will see it cut about 10 per cent of around 2,500 employees.

A CNNIndonesia.com report, citing sources, said several divisions such as engineer, marketing, and customer service were ‘victims’ of the job cut exercise that the company has adhered to, while TechInAsia said the company is discontinuing its smart retail and internet-of-things divisions.

According to our sources, ousted employees were given a single-day notice but were paid financial compensation.

The layoffs, which came as a surprise to many, sparked a buzz on social media with many linking it with the pressure in the heated e-commerce space amid stiff competition from fellow heavily-funded unicorns like Tokopedia, Lazada, and Shopee.

Indonesian IT Minister Rudiantara, however, played down the development as something “normal” and said he hoped the employees let go by Bukalapak would go on to find or join new startups.

Responding to the reports, Bukalapak Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Teddy Oetomo said in a statement: “Bukalapak aims to be sustainable e-commerce that continues to grow and create an impact for many years to come. Therefore, we need to align internally to execute our long-term business strategy, make the necessary changes, and deciding on a path to follow.”

Interestingly, the layoffs come barely months after Bukalapak beefed up its top management team by hiring several executives to fill in positions that were left vacant due to recent departures at the senior level.

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

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