Uber announces further job losses in wake of Covid-19 outbreak

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In an email to staff on Monday, Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi stopped short of saying that the jobs would be the last of the Covid-19 casualties.

Combined with 3,700 pink slips the company handed out earlier this month, the latest cuts - which CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced in a company-wide email - bring Uber's coronavirus-fueled layoffs to about 25 percent of the company's workforce. The company is closing its business for developing products and services for its platform and a unit working on artificial intelligence.

The ride-hailing giant will cut 3,000 more jobs, in addition to the previously announced 3,700. Now, Uber is scrambling to cut as much as $1bn in costs by slashing its workforce and shutting some 45 offices across the world, we understand.

Uber is closing or consolidating offices at various locations, including the merger of two facilities at its San Francisco base of operations.

It opened its Asia-Pacific hub at Frasers Tower in Cecil Street in April a year ago to support its operations in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

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Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 4.2 million people and killed some 292,000, according to the Johns Hopkins tally. The discussions were part of a Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labour and Pensions hearing on May 12.

Teams at Uber are being reorganized, with Andrew Macdonald to head a "mobility" team that will include transit and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty taking charge of a "delivery" team. One of the offices that will close is in Singapore, where Uber had already sold its Southeast Asia business to local rival Grab in 2018.

The company said trip requests had plummeted 80 per cent globally and it lost almost US$3 billion last month. Although Uber's main ride-hailing division is now profitable, the food delivery operations still lose money and other bets like autonomous vehicles and air taxis have yet to be proven.

"Our balance sheet is strong, Eats is doing great, Rides looks a little better, maybe we can wait this damn virus out..."

Uber said it hoped to save US$1 billion by the end of the year through the changes. "As I said to our teams today, we are making these hard choices now so that we can move forward and begin to build again with confidence".

The ride-hailing major Uber reported a net loss of $2.9 billion in the first quarter of this year, even as its revenue reached $3.54 billion in Q1 2020 from $3.1 billion a year ago, a growth of 14 per cent.

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