DUBAI: Careem, the Dubai-headquartered tech giant, on Monday announced it was cutting 536 jobs this week, representing 31 per cent of the company’s total workforce.

The announcement came hours after Uber said it was shuttering its Eats delivery business in several markets, including the Middle East, and laying off dozens of staff.

In a blog on Careem’s website, CEO Mudassir Sheikha said they were prioritising the security of the company and that parent Uber continues to believe in its super-app model.

“As we have discussed several times in the last few weeks, the crisis brought on by Covid-19 has put our dream and future impact at significant risk,” Sheikha said.

The geographic breakdown of the layoffs is unclear and it remains unknown by how Pakistani offices and operations would be impacted by it.

“As we envisioned becoming a Super App, reshaping for some of our markets, like Pakistan, was already under process, it has been further impacted by the current crisis,” the company’s spokesperson said.

He added that business was down by more than 80pc and warned that it was “alarmingly unknown” when it would recover.

“In this new reality, the surest way to secure Careem for the long term is to drive towards self-sustainability within a reasonable time frame,” he said.

According to the statement, the layoffs would be concentrated in non-tech roles.

The Careem BUS mass-transportation operation has also been suspended, it said.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2020

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