Sea cuts some Garena unit jobs, shuts projects, sources say

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE – Gaming and e-commerce company Sea is putting the brakes on its game livestream platform and shutting projects at its development unit after reporting an almost US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) quarterly loss, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Employees were told staff numbers at its gaming livestream business and its development arm would be cut, sources said.

Staff at Booyah!, a gaming livestream and community app, which is part of Sea’s gaming unit Garena, were told they would be let go and the app would no longer be updated, the sources said. One source said it meant making 30 to 40 people redundant.

Sea Labs, the tech conglomerate’s development arm, was shutting some of its biggest experimental projects and cutting staff, including blockchain and public cloud projects, the source said.

A third person with knowledge of the matter confirmed Sea had shut some major projects and let go “dozens of people”, saying it was related to Sea’s plan to boost profitability.

A spokesman for Sea told Reuters the company had “made some changes to improve efficiency in our operations that impact a number of roles”, saying it would focus on the “long-term strength of our ecosystem”.

The spokesman declined to say how many jobs were affected.

After a rally in its fortunes during the pandemic, Sea has suffered setbacks that have led to more than a 72 per cent drop in its share price so far this year.

Its e-commerce platform Shopee rescinded a number of job offers for positions at its headquarters in Singapore, including for someone who had already flown here to take up a new role, The Straits Times reported on Thursday.

In June, Sea cut jobs across its e-commerce division Shopee, according to media reports, not just in South-east Asia but also at its Mexico and Latin American operations.

The New York-listed tech firm last month posted a wider-than-expected loss for the second-quarter and withdrew its e-commerce forecast for the year, sending its shares plunging 14 per cent.

In March, Sea warned that Garena was taking a hit from government bans in India.

Quarterly paying users for Garena dropped 39 per cent in the quarter. REUTERS