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Rocket Internet woes continue with mass Nigerian layoffs

Looks like things aren’t exactly rosy at ecommerce cloning giant Rocket Internet at the moment. A couple of weeks ago, he company revealed that it was scuppering its Chinese operations. Now it’s downsizing in Nigeria.

Rocket Internet only launched its Nigerian presence a couple of months ago, but is reportedly already downsizing its staff in the country. According to tech news site Techloy, the company fired 50 members of staff, mostly from its support division, on Friday.

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When the company first entered Nigeria, it hired aggressively taking aboard some ex-employees from Kalahari Nigeria, which was scuppered by parent company MIH in late 2011.

Techloy also states that Rocket Internet’s two Nigerian sites, Amazon clone Kasuwa (later renamed Jumia) and fashion site Sabunta, are set to merge.

The move is reportedly part of a bid to consolidate the Jumia brand in Egypt, Morocco and other countries across Africa. It’s eventual aim is to make Jumia the largest online retail brand on the continent.

Techloy also reports however that the consolidation may be in part due to the acquisition of two of its properties, Latin America Internet Holding (LIH) and Africa Internet Holding (AIH), by Millicom. These two subsidiaries control eight operating businesses on the two continents including its ecommerce offerings in Nigeria and South Africa.

At this stage however it’s unclear whether Rocket Internet is in real trouble or if it’s sacrificing a few pawns in the game of clones.

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