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SoftBank-backed ride-hailing firm Grab announces layoffs

A pedestrian walks past a signage for Grab in Singapore on April 26, 2018.

Paul Miller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Southeast Asian ride-hailing and payments firm Grab announced hundreds of job losses on Tuesday due to the impact of novel coronavirus.

Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup with a valuation of $14 billion, the SoftBank-backed company informed staff of the move at a townhall, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Singapore-based Grab would cut just under 5% of its headcount, or about 360 employees, according to a note to employees from CEO Anthony Tan which was shared with Reuters.

Tan said the company, which is active in eight countries, did not face capitalization issues and would be “sunsetting non-core projects, consolidating teams and pivoting to focus on deliveries.”

The ride-hailing industry has been battered by the pandemic, with firms from Uber, Lyft in the United States to India’s Ola cutting jobs and costs.

The impact in Southeast Asia has been severe, with 11 drivers for rival Gojek telling Reuters last week they had their income slashed by more than half during the pandemic.

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