Shopee opens new regional HQ in Singapore as it rides growth in Southeast Asia

Shopee opens new regional HQ in Singapore as it rides growth in Southeast Asia

Local e-commerce firm Shopee opened its new regional headquarters on Tuesday (Sep 3) as it leverages strong growth in Southeast Asia. Cheryl Lin reports.

SINGAPORE: Local e-commerce firm Shopee opened its new regional headquarters on Tuesday (Sep 3) as it leverages strong growth in Southeast Asia.

The six-storey building in Kent Ridge, spanning 244,000 sq ft, is nearly six times larger than its previous office across the street. It can house up to 3,000 employees.

Shopee has seen "tremendous" growth since it was founded four years ago, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the opening ceremony. 

He noted that the company is now one of the top three e-commerce players in Southeast Asia. It has a presence in seven markets.

According to Shopee, it saw a record gross merchandise volume of US$3.8 billion (S$5.3 billion) in the second quarter of 2019. Adjusted revenue in the same period was US$177.4 million, up by more than 200 per cent year-on-year. 

The firm said its decision to sink its roots in Singapore reflects its long-term commitment to investing in the country, which includes hiring more locals.

“As we grow, we will continue to offer exciting new roles to Singaporeans,” said Mr Forrest Li, chairman and Group CEO of Sea - Shopee’s “decacorn” parent company valued at more than US$10 billion.

In particular, these roles would be for data scientists or software engineers.

Shopee's new headquarters features an in-house masseuse
Shopee's new headquarters features an in-house masseuse. (Photo: Shopee)

Shopee will continue to focus on “expanding the tech talent pipeline”, said its chief commercial officer Zhou Jun Jie.

For example, the firm has committed to training more than 100 employees under the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) initiative to become software engineers and data analysts.

The company has also hosted events such as Singapore’s largest national data science challenge, which took place in February.

Shopee's growth is "aligned" with Singapore's plans to serve as a regional hub and harness new opportunities in the Southeast Asian digital economy, said Mr Heng.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat tests out Shopee’s chatbot and machine translation engine
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat tests out Shopee’s chatbot and machine translation engine during the launch of its new headquarters on Sep 3, 2019. (Photo: Shopee)

"The rise of Southeast Asian and Asian economies brings opportunities, and we must position Singapore well to harness them," he said.

“We have to constantly strive to ensure that companies like Shopee, doing business across the region, will continue to see Singapore as an ideal base for serving the region."

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, added that the opening of Shopee’s new headquarters is “a vote of confidence” in the strengths of Singapore’s economy.

Shopee said its new office was designed to "maximise comfort" for all employees.

It features a dinner catering service where employees can pre-order their meals, naps pods at every floor, a mini arcade, as well as an in-house masseuse.

Source: CNA/ec(gs)

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