Singapore-based e-commerce major Shopee shuts shop in India after short stay

Singapore-based e-commerce major Shopee has decided to cease all its operations in India, just a few months after launching in the country in November 2021.

In a statement to the press, a Shopee spokesperson said the company decided to shut down operations “in view of global market uncertainties”. Shopee also informed employees of the shutdown in an all-hands company-wide meeting on Monday.

“We have decided to close our early-stage Shopee India initiative. During this period of transition, we will focus on supporting our local seller and buyer communities and our local team to make the process as smooth as possible. We will continue to focus our efforts on delivering a positive impact to our global communities, in line with our mission to better the lives of the underserved through technology,” the statement added.

The e-commerce firm largely had a mobile-first approach and followed an asset-light strategy by operating as a
pure-play online marketplace for sellers and buyers.

In a note to its sellers on Monday morning, the e-commerce firm said it will be ceasing operations with effect from March 29, 12.00 am (IST). Buyers will not be able to place any new orders from this date. Shopee’s dashboard for sellers will, however, be active till May 30 for payment withdrawal, the note to sellers added.

Shopee, which focuses mainly on low-cost goods with high discounts, was launched in India in November 2021. The e-commerce platform has a large market share in geographies, including Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It also has a presence in seven other markets and was initially launched in 2015 in Singapore.

Shopee’s exit from India comes a month after the firm shut down operations in France in February this year. Shopee’s parent company Sea had indicated tough business conditions in India when it announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2021 (CY2020-2021).

Sea also owns online multiplayer game Free Fire, which had a massive user base in India. The mobile game was, however, banned in India following a government crackdown on Chinese apps and tech products which originally began in 2020.
After the Free Fire ban in India, the market value of NYSE-listed Sea Ltd fell by at least $16 billion in a single day on February 11.