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Sea Cuts Jobs in Gaming Arm in Second Downsizing Wave

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Sea Ltd. is trimming staff in its money-making gaming arm to rein in costs. It’s the e-commerce giant’s second round of job cuts this year, following a string of setbacks that is forcing the company to shift its focus away from unbridled growth to profitability.

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Southeast Asia’s largest tech firm is planning to reduce headcount in its most profitable division Garena and in new ventures at its research and development arm, according to people familiar with the matter. About 40 jobs will be cut from its game livestream app Booyah!, including in teams involved in product management and quality assurance, the people said, asking not to be named because the information is private.

The Singapore-based company is also shuttering several of its experimental ventures at its R&D unit Sea Labs, the people said. It will let go about a dozen employees working in areas such as public cloud and blockchain, one person said. The company has also rescinded job offers across tech roles at its e-commerce arm Shopee, the person said.

“We continue to focus on the long term strength of our ecosystem. In line with this, we have made some changes to improve efficiency in our operations that impact a number of roles,” Sea said in an emailed statement. Reuters first reported the job cuts. Sea had 67,300 employees as of the end of 2021, double its headcount the year before, according to the company’s most recent annual report.

The tech giant is now scaling back its overseas footprint and periphery businesses as rising competition and investor skepticism force the company to shift focus toward boosting profitability, rather than on expanding abroad. Sea in June made its first major job cuts at Shopee.

The company faces increasing pressure to cut costs, with growth in its main e-commerce business slowing after a pandemic-era high. Consumers are pulling back on spending online, as rising interest rates and prices weigh on the economy.

Sea has lost almost $170 billion of its market value since an October high on questions about its money-making prospects. The company said it expected Garena to post its first decline in bookings this year, and last month, it withdrew its 2022 e-commerce forecast.

Sea’s e-commerce rival Lazada Group has been stepping up its investments across Southeast Asia and seeks to build on momentum in the region to expand in Europe. This week, Lazada’s Chinese parent Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said it invested $913 million in its Southeast Asian arm, taking the year’s capital influx to $1.3 billion.

Read more: Sea’s Billionaire CEO Opens Up After 75% Stock Crash (1)

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