honestbee to lay off 10% of staff; halt services in Hong Kong, Indonesia

honestbee to lay off 10% of staff; halt services in Hong Kong, Indonesia

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2 -min read
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IN A marked escalation of its woes, grocery delivery startup honestbee has stopped its services in Hong Kong and Indonesia as well as its food vertical in Thailand. The move is part of an ongoing strategic review, the company announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Layoffs at honestbee will also hit 10 per cent of its global headcount. Earlier on April 23, the startup had put this figure at 6 per cent of its total workforce.

The startup is also suspending its services in Japan as well as “specific partnerships in other markets”. A spokesman for honestbee declined to elaborate on the partnerships affected.

honestbee added that it is suspending its services in the Philippines, confirming earlier media reports on the move.

In the April 23 announcement, honestbee had said that it was suspending its food verticals in Hong Kong and Thailand, and that its status in the remaining markets were unchanged.

The honestbee spokesman declined to comment further on the reasons for the latest spate of halts and suspensions, as well as why 10 per cent of its headcount will be laid off, compared to 6 per cent as announced previously.

Started in Singapore in 2015, honestbee has expanded aggressively over the years, launching in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and Malaysia.

However, the startup is now reportedly strapped for cash and struggling to pay its staff. It is holding early-stage talks with some potential buyers in Asia, including Grab and Gojek, according to a TechCrunch report on April 26.

In its statement on Tuesday, honestbee denied that there is a payroll delay and said that all employees will be paid in a "timely manner".