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E-commerce firm Daraz Group, which Alibaba Group Holding acquired in 2018, operates in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Photo: Shutterstock

Tech lay-offs spread to South Asia as Alibaba-owned Daraz cuts 11 per cent of workforce amid difficult market environment

  • Job cuts at Pakistan-based e-commerce firm Daraz follow a workforce reduction of more than 15,000 at parent Alibaba in the first nine months of 2022
  • The redundancies are line with a trend in the wider technology industry, where firms are slashing headcount amid concerns about an economic slowdown
Alibaba Group Holding-owned Daraz Group, touted as the leading e-commerce platform in South Asia, said it will cut 11 per cent of the company’s workforce, as sweeping lay-offs in the technology sector spread to more markets.
The job cuts at Pakistan-based Daraz, which was acquired by Alibaba from German firm Rocket Internet in 2018, follow a workforce reduction of more than 15,000 at its Chinese parent in the first nine months of 2022. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

“In the last 12 months, the market environment turned and became extremely difficult,” Daraz chief executive Bjarke Mikkelsen said in an open letter posted on the company’s website.

That gloomy scenario included “a war in Europe, huge supply chain disruptions, soaring inflation, increasing taxes and removal of essential government subsidies in our markets”, Mikkelsen said.

Daraz Group chief executive Bjarke Mikkelsen. Photo: Handout
Daraz, which covers a geographic market with a population of more than 450 million that includes Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, has 3,310 employees, according to its website. That means its workforce reduction will affect about 360 people.

The job cuts at Daraz are in line with a trend in the wider technology industry, where companies are slashing headcount amid continued concerns about an economic slowdown.

Multinational tech firms like Microsoft, Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Dell, Google parent Alphabet,, Twitter, PayPal and Zoom Video Communications have already announced redundancies affecting tens of thousands of employees.
Other major Chinese tech companies that have initiated job cuts include Tencent Holdings, TikTok owner ByteDance, Xiaomi,, Kuaishou Technology, Didi Chuxing, Bilibili and Weibo.

Chinese tech workers on visas struggle under Silicon Valley lay-offs

Notwithstanding the announced lay-offs, Daraz chief Mikkelsen said the company will “continue to invest in [its] future”, including product innovation and internal productivity.

Established in 2015, Daraz has expanded its user base to more than 15 million from 3 million in 2018, “with an average order growth of almost 100 per cent until last year”, Mikkelsen said.

The company has a merchandise portfolio of more than 50 million different products and ships more than 10 million packages monthly, according to its website.

Other Alibaba subsidiaries outside China, meanwhile, have not announced any workforce reduction in recent months. These include Southeast Asian e-commerce services provider Lazada Group and Indian digital payments firm Paytm.