Uber to close Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, 120 jobs affected

Uber to close Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, 120 jobs affected

The Uber logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture illustration
The Uber logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Illustration/Files

SINGAPORE: As part of Uber's efforts to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, the ride-hailing company will move its Asia-Pacific headquarters out of Singapore, affecting 120 employees locally.

On Monday (May 18), the company said it will slash 3,000 jobs and close 45 offices, including Singapore’s. 

The company’s bottom line has been significantly hurt by orders to stay at home during this health crisis. In an email to employees, chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber's rides business plunged by 80 per cent in April. 

According to the email, Mr Khosrowshahi said the company will start “winding down” its Singapore office and move it to a new Asia-Pacific hub “in a market where we operate our services”. 

An Uber spokesperson told CNA on Tuesday that 120 employees will be affected, and some of them will lose their jobs.

The company did not reveal where its new Asia-Pacific headquarters will be, instead saying in a statement that it intends to move its operational headquarters from Singapore in the next 12 months to a new location in the region, and it is finalising the details which it will share soon. 

READ: Grab prepares for 'long winter' as COVID-19 hits revenue

READ: COVID-19: Taxi, private-hire car drivers allowed to make home deliveries to meet increased demand

In a separate email seen by CNA, Uber told employees it is considering several cities and aims to inform the team by end-July.

A group of finance employees will stay in Singapore, but other roles will be relocated to the new headquarters “depending on requirements”, the email stated, adding that Asia-Pacific regional leaders currently in Singapore and elsewhere will be based at the new headquarters.

Uber exited the Southeast Asian market in March 2018, but it kept its Singapore office where it runs its Asia-Pacific operations.

In April 2019, it opened an office at Fraser Towers in Tanjong Pagar with at least 165 employees then. The regional hub serves nine countries in Asia-Pacific, including Australia, India and Japan, a press statement said.

Uber's announcement that it will slash 3,000 jobs came less than two weeks after it said it will lay off about 3,700 workers in its customer service and recruitment departments, meaning that the company will eliminate about a quarter of its workforce globally. It will also be closing around 40 offices - out of several hundred - worldwide. 

READ: Uber to require drivers, riders to wear masks around the world

As part of its restructuring strategy, Uber said it will also wind down its artificial intelligence lab and product incubator, and is looking at pursuing strategic alternatives for Uber Works, a shift-work platform. 

Mr Khosrowshahi said that Uber will be focusing efforts on its “core mobility and delivery platforms and resizing our company to match the relates of our business”. 

A separate Uber spokesperson told CNA that Monday's changes affected employees in more than 50 countries. 

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram

Source: CNA/rp(cy)

Bookmark