Sea Ltd to boost investments & expand operations in M'sia

Previously, it was reported that an internal memo said Sea had a difficult 2022.

Winnie Li | January 30, 2023, 05:39 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Singapore tech giant, Sea Limited, will boost its investments in Malaysia, expanding operations and creating about 2,000 jobs, announced Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Zafrul Aziz in a Facebook post on Jan. 29.

Sea, the parent company of online retail platform Shopee, shared its proposed expansion plans with Zafrul during his official visit to Sea and Shopee's headquarters in Singapore, according to a media release by Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Tengku Zafrul's visit to Sea is part of his three-day investment mission to Singapore, which is in conjunction with Anwar Ibrahim's first official visit to Singapore as Malaysia's Prime Minister.

According to the Ministry, Sea's proposed plans include setting up cloud services, data hosting and processing, as well as a new logistics e-commerce warehouse in Malaysia.

The cloud computing project will be housed in a three-storey green facility in the Johor town of Kulai, with 24 data hall suites, mechanical and electrical rooms, office space, as well as storage and parking facilities, and aims to be completed by March 2024.

Shopee expanding in Malaysia

Additionally, Sea's e-commerce platform, Shopee, will also expand its footprint in Malaysia through a newly-constructed mega warehouse located in the Selangor town of Bukit Raja.

The warehouse will be an integrated hi-tech logistics park consisting of two storeys. It would also be equipped with cloud infrastructure and span 1.4 million square feet, becoming one of the biggest logistics warehouses in the country.

According to the Ministry, both projects are expected to create more than 2,000 job opportunities.

'Significant development' for M'sia and Sea

Zafrul said that Sea's decision to expand its investment in Malaysia reflects the company's confidence in the prospects, as well as the operational and policy stability of the country's business landscape.

He also shared the expansion would benefit Malaysia's industrial ecosystem, particularly in the digital space, as well as the country's productivity and competitiveness in the long run.

Sea's Co-founder and Group Chief Operating Officer, Ye Gang, also regard the company's decision as "a significant development not just for Sea for the local digital ecosystem".

He said the company is grateful for the support of Zafrul and his team and is committed to supporting the creation of more employment opportunities that will drive Malaysia's economic growth.

Layoffs in 2022

Sea's announcement took place a few months after the company's recent layoffs. 7,000 jobs, or roughly 10 per cent of its workforce were axed in a six-month period, reported Bloomberg in November 2022.

In September 2022, Sea's Chairman and Group CEO, Forrest Li, reportedly wrote in an internal memo that the company would be implementing a series of cost-cutting measures in view of the negative market conditions the company faced.

The company's leadership has also decided that they will not take any cash compensation until the company reaches self-sufficiency.

Later in December, Li further announced that some staff would have their salaries frozen for most staff and lower bonuses would be paid out in 2022.

Sea announced a net loss of US$569.3 million (S$747.4 million) for Q3 of 2022, according to the company's Press Release.

Cuts in Shopee, Garena

Two of the company's businesses, Shopee and Garena, have also laid off employees in the past year.

In June 2022, Shopee let go of multiple staff across Southeast Asia and South America while rescinding job offers mere days before candidates were scheduled to start in August.

Similarly, Garena made staff cuts in its gaming livestream business and its development arm in September 2022, reported CNA.

Related stories:

Top image via Tengku Zafrul Aziz 's Facebook