SINGAPORE: Lazada appears to have rang in the new year with a round of layoffs, a number of news sites have reported. At the end of the workday on Tuesday (Jan 2), senior and junior staff members received invitations to meetings with the company’s Human Resources (HR) department.

The e-commerce company, one of the largest in Southeast Asia, is under the umbrella of Alibaba Group Holding. Several departments in Lazada, such as commercial and marketing, were affected by the dismissals, characterized by BNN as “sweeping.”

The lay-offs, which began on Wednesday (Jan 3), may just be at the beginning and are speculated to go on until Friday (Jan 5). One employee who received a dismissal notice told The Edge Singapore about how the HR department has reserved meeting rooms until the end of the week.

Moreover, Mr Loh Wee-Lee, who used to be the CEO of Lazada Singapore, was allegedly asked to step down from his post in August last year. He told The Edge that he has chosen to seek new opportunities outside the giant e-commerce company. Mr Loh now resides in Hong Kong, where he’s the group chief digital officer at DFI Retail Group.

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Additionally, the in-house communications department in Lazada Singapore has been vacant since last year. The company has also listed a number of open positions listed in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

But Lazada Singapore is not the only part of the company to have recently seen a major shake-up in leadership. Mr Li Chun, who had been the Group Chief Executive Officer of Lazada since July 2020, when he took over from Mr Pierre Poignant, the co-founder of the company, left his post in mid-2022.

In June of that year, he was replaced by Mr James Dong. While Mr Li stayed in Lazada for a while in an advisory position after being replaced as CEO, he has since left the company. He is currently the group CEO of DHgate, a Chinese e-commerce platform.

Mr Dong had formerly been the head of globalisation strategy and corporate development at Alibaba, and then served as CEO for Lazada Thailand beginning in 2018, and became CEO of Lazada Vietnam the following year.

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Lazada has faced stiff competition in South East Asia from Shopee, which belongs to the SEA Group, as well as from Tokopedia, which announced a partnership with TikTok Shop last month.

In December, Alibaba reportedly poured an additional US$634 million in capital (S$841 million) into Lazada. /TISG

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