The economic uncertainty has gotten to Grab now. Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailing firm, considered one of the most successful of the gig companies to make it in the region, has announced still more cost-cutting measures amid unrelenting inflation and interest rate hikes.
In a memo released to staff on 14 December and seen by Reuters, Grab CEO Anthony Tan announced a hiring freeze for non-critical roles and salary freezes for senior managers. He warned employees that they would need to "adopt a frugal and prudent mindset as we prepare for 2023", citing rising prices and interest rates that will affect the company's bottom line.
However, no layoffs will be taking place, and Tan's memo suggests that the present freezes are intended to prevent that necessity - or "knee-jerk reactions that may interrupt our plans down the road", as he put it. This bears out COO Alex Hungate's September prediction that the company will scale back its business and cut costs rather than turn to mass layoffs.
For now, Grab remains in a very small minority of tech companies that have not yet jumped on the layoff bandwagon.
The latest cost-cutting measures follow on yet another loss-making quarter - Grab lost $327 million, although this was considerably less than analysts had predicted - and persistently low share prices.
Last quarter, Grab had already closed down some of its facilities, including groceries distribution hubs and centralised kitchens, and slowed some of its expansion plans including the growth of its financial services business.