Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak confirms laying off around 100 employees

The layoffs are part of the company’s path towards achieving “sustainability” in Indonesia’s competitive e-commerce landscape.

Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak confirms that is undergoing a wave of layoffs, as first reported by CNN Indonesia earlier today.

The CNN report mentioned “hundreds” of employees being let go, but according to Bukalapak’s official statement, the figure represents roughly 10% of staff, and that this amounts to roughly to 100 people.

The layoffs and restructuring were a necessary and calculated move to make the company become sustainable, Bukalapak’s Chief Strategy Officer Teddy Oetomo told KrAsia.

“Being a sustainable e-commerce company is important to us. While GMV growth is an important measure for any e-commerce firm, our company has progressed to the next stage and has successfully delivered on monetization,” Oetomo told KrAsia, adding that the company targets to break even and turn profitable in the foreseeable future.

After the news of mass layoffs broke, Bukalapak released an official statement in which it stresses that it has achieved a three-fold increase in gross profits in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period last year, and that It has been halving EBITDA losses in the past eight months.

It’s not the first time the firm talks about being close to profitability. In 2017, the company told media that it aimed to be profitable by the end of that year. But Bukalapak has to win the attention of online shoppers along with many other well-funded players like Tokopedia, Shopee, Lazada in Indoensia’s competitive e-commerce landscape.

The e-commerce firm, led by CEO Ahmad Zaky, is backed by Indonesian media conglomerate EMTEK, Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial, Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund GIC , as well as South Korea’s Mirae Asset Naver Asia Growth Fund. This year, it celebrated its 9th anniversary.