How many people are working at Shopee?
And what do they do?
Some of our readers asked us: there has been a lot of chatter about Shopee, but the organisation seems to be relatively ‘secretive’. Aside from Chris Feng being the CEO and occasional media presence of SEA group executives, people outside do not seem to know much about the Shopee executives, and how the organisation is like.
Established in its headquarters in Singapore in 2015, Shopee quickly expanded to major markets in Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil and Mexico.
Underpinning this rapid growth is a relatively clear and hierarchy-light organisational structure.
Chris Feng is leading both Shopee and SeaMoney, supported by key executives including Terrence Pang and David Chen (who is also Co-Founder of Sea Group). . David, whois in charge of product, and associated functions such as engineering, data etc., is also the main driver for Shopee’s massive hiring drive in China. Two heads of engineering are, interestingly, former Mozat employees.
Unlike other companies, Shopee does not have a country manager role with the exception of Vietnam and Brazil. It recently sent a group of seasoned senior executives from Asia, headed by Anh Tran, to accelerate the business in Brazil. By the end of 2020, Shopee had approximately 30000 employees. Indonesia accounted for almost half of the employees, signifying the importance the group is putting on this market. In terms of function, general operations account for the majority of the headcount, though R&D has been growing fast.
From a global perspective, we compare Shopee with Pinduoduo and JD. Shopee now has the highest percentage of sales and marketing headcount, which suggests that Shopee is in the stage of development in the market while global players now shift their focus to specific functional areas: Pinduoduo has 61% of headcount on product development and JD has 77% of headcount on warehouse and delivery. In terms of efficiency, on GMV/employees, Shopee is akin to that of asset-heavy JD, and far behind Pinduoduo.
As we take a closer look at Shopee’s headcount, it is not hard to find that Shopee’s hiring in in R&D and Sales & marketing has been growing fast especially in China. From the above research, we believe that Shopee’s main battleground is Indonesia while Brazil and China are growing fast too.
However, when we look at SEA group as a whole, we see that most growth of headcount comes from R&D – four times faster than the general growth:
Do stay tuned for the second and third parts of the report where we discuss payment, logistics, and new business models such as social commerce. Any comments or suggestions you can always email us firstname.lastname@example.org