Cross Border E-Commerce Giant Shopee Cancels Many Offer Contracts

Heated discussion has arisen online in China recently regarding the mass cancellation of job offers issued by Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Shopee. The broken offers mainly include positions set up by the firm in Singapore, as reported by Jiemian News on August 29.

Shopee responded, “Due to adjustments in the recruitment program for some technical teams, Shopee has closed some technology-related positions. We are in continuous communication with the people involved and will do our best and support to help them transition properly.”

A prospective employee said that on August 28, he ought to have embarked on a flight to Singapore, but received an overseas phone call and was told by Shopee HR that the offer had been withdrawn. Now everything has changed. Another said he received an offer cancellation notice on August 25, “when [he] had just arrived in Singapore and was queuing up at the immigration office to get materials to enter the country.”

Many prospective Shopee employees have encountered similar situations, and there are two related rights protection groups, with over 60 and 200 members so far.

Since the employee did not yet formally join the company and the incident occurred in the process of contracting between the two parties, a lawyer said that Shopee, as the employer, breached the contract and opened itself up to potential negligence liability. In addition to the payment of liquidated damages, the company should also compensate the employee for losses based on trust in the company, including costs incurred for onboarding and all direct reductions in property such as transportation, travel and accommodation costs incurred to travel to onboarding.

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As confirmed by several interviewees, the current solution given by Shopee HR is to compensate one month’s salary, in addition to other monetary inputs to Singapore such as airfare, hotels, and other expenses. It is also claimed that the compensation will be reimbursed subsequently.

On August 16, Shopee’s parent company Sea announced its Q2 2022 earnings, showing Q2 revenue of $2.9 billion, up 29.0% year-on-year, but net losses reached $931.2 million, more than double the $433.7 million net loss in the same period a year earlier. In capital markets, Sea has also suffered a plunge in its share price over the past year, falling more than 80% from its peak of $373 per share in October 2021.