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Honestbee “Temporarily Pauses” Operations In The Philippines – Axes 50 To 70 Regional Staff

Vulcan Post logo Vulcan Post 22/4/2019 Zafirah Salim
Honestbee "Temporarily Pauses" Operations In The Philippines - Axes 50 To 70 Regional Staff © Provided by Vulcan Post Honestbee "Temporarily Pauses" Operations In The Philippines - Axes 50 To 70 Regional Staff

Back in January, Singapore’s delivery and concierge service honestbee announced that it will “temporarily pause” its partnership with FairPrice.

It did not specify the period of time, but its ‘shopper bee’ — honestbee’s concierge shopper — claims that FairPrice said that this would be a permanent arrangement.

Regardless, honestbee users can no longer buy FairPrice goods via its platform.

According to Dongshen News, honestbee owes money to its partner vendors in Taiwan.

One of them told the local media that honestbee has been delaying payments, while another said that it has not received any payment from the firm since January.

To date, honestbee owes them 3 months’ worth of payment totalling to about 120,000 yuan (~S$24,249).

Responding to this, honestbee Taiwan explained that they have been “streamlining payment processes” and “since their parent company is in Singapore, there are bound to be delays”.

It emphasised that that the firm is not facing any cashflow problems.

Tech in Asia reports that honestbee claims to have paid 80 per cent of its debt, while the rest is still being processed.

Retrenchment In SEA

Today, Tech in Asia reported that “multiple sources within the startup” said honestbee has retrenched at least 50 to 70 people out of its 1,000-strong staff across several markets last week.

In Thailand, 30 staff in the food delivery and operations departments were let go, while more than five people were axed in Indonesia.

It is not clear if this retrenchment is part of a restructuring exercise.

In addition to this, multiple senior executives have also tendered their resignation with the company.

In recent months, key executives who have left the company include co-founder Isaac Tay, Malaysia country managing director Pulkit Manchanda, and Singapore managing director Chris Urban.

honestbee’s deputy managing director in Indonesia, Hendro Tan, is also reportedly leaving the firm.

Puts A Stop On Its Best-Performing Market

Over the recent Easter weekend, honestbee issued an announcement conveying its temporary suspension of its operations in the Philippines.

In an email sent out to partner merchants, contract workers and customers, honestbee wrote:

As we work with our headquarters towards bringing the total business to a healthy and sustainable level, we unfortunately need to temporarily pause our local operations until further notice.

– Honestbee Philippines
a close up of text on a white background: Image Credit: Tech in Asia © Provided by Vulcan Post Image Credit: Tech in Asia

A source told Tech in Asia that Philippines is honestbee’s best-performing market.

Singapore, Taiwan and Japan are some of its other top markets, while Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia make up the bottom half.

‘Shopper bees’ in the Philippines told Tech in Asia that they were notified about the suspension, but did not receive any explanation.

A meeting is apparently slated to be held today to clarify matters.

Customers in the Philippines seemed to be quite at a loss, as they reached out to honestbee’s social media pages questioning their pending orders with the firm.

honestbee has since responded that they all credit and debit card payments will be refunded.

In a separate announcement, honestbee declared that it will resume its operations, although it did not furnish any specific timeline.

We will be following up with honestbee for further comments and will update the article accordingly once we get a response.

Featured Image Credit: The Hungry Chef

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