Uber said to be laying off up to 700 employees in India amid pandemic

A pedestrian checks a mobile device in front of the Uber Technologies Inc. headquarters building in San Francisco, California, U.S. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

American ride-hailing giant Uber is planning to layoff about 500-700 of its employees in India as its business has been severely hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The layoffs will take place within the next two weeks, Entrack reported quoting sources.

The US-based company reportedly employs over 2,000 people in India.

The development follows another report, which was published by The Information about a week ago stating that Uber is planning to let go of 20 per cent of its 27,000 workforce globally owing to the ongoing turmoil.

Responding to an emailed query by DealStreetAsia, Uber spokesperson said, “We are aware of our obligations under the government’s guidelines during the lockdown.”

India went into a complete lockdown starting March 25 in order to contain the massive spread of COVID-19, which originated in the Wuhan district of China late last year. As a result, ride-hailing companies, including Uber and homegrown Ola, had to temporarily suspend their services until further notice.

However, the Indian government did permit some relaxations starting May 4, which allowed Ola and Uber to operate in the green and orange zones only of select cities, with two passengers per ride. Their services remain suspended in the cities that fall under the red zone.

As the core business has taken a hit because of the coronavirus pandemic, Uber has been looking at other options to stay afloat. Last month, it tied-up with online grocery firm BigBasket and e-commerce company Flipkart to deliver essentials to customers at their doorstep. The company has deployed its UberGo, UberXL and UberMoto vehicles for this service.

In October last year, Uber had retrenched as many as 350 people as part of its third global retrenchment drive in 2019, of which under 10% were reportedly based in India.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing major also sold its food delivery business Uber Eats in India to Zomato for about $206 million to cut losses earlier this year. Uber has been on a drive to cut losses since its disappointing IPO in May last year.

The company has also started winding up Uber Eats in eight more markets, including Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Uruguay in order to channelise its energy and resources on its top Eats markets globally.

 

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Singapore Reporter/s

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.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.