What Shopee’s exit says about India’s value-commerce market, regulations

What Shopee’s exit says about India’s value-commerce market, regulations

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Aditi Shrivastava

22 reads
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Aditi Shrivastava

22 reads

Despite intense competition and regulatory uncertainties, the company entered India with high hopes in 2021. Last week, its team was making elaborate plans for a marketing splash during Diwali, but a Zoom call from top management upended everything. How did it come to this?

April 06, 2022

10 Min Read

Ecommerce major Shopee’s internal announcement about exiting India had typical pandemic-era traits: it was sudden, short on detail and delivered from a distance. Chief operating officer Terence Pang broke the news to the India team over a Zoom call at noon on March 28, adding that all employees would receive severance pay irrespective of their tenure. 

“It was very diplomatic,” a senior executive who attended the meeting told The CapTable.

Pang, who functions from the company’s Singapore headquarters, did not dwell on the whys. There was no mention of geopolitical issues or the Indian government’s decision to ban Garena Free Fire, a popular game published by Shopee’s parent entity, Sea Limited, in February.

“This happened on Monday (March 28). Just three days earlier, we were working in full swing. The company even sent all of us new laptops. Some people (new hires) literally joined us at 9 am and were asked to leave at 12.30 pm,” the executive said.

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