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HomeEconomicsSoutheast Asia’s delivery riders see poor returns in a bloated gig economy

Southeast Asia’s delivery riders see poor returns in a bloated gig economy

This Week in AsiaEconomics

From Vietnam to Indonesia and Singapore, delivery riders struggle as ‘supply and demand not matching’

The delivery services sector has provided work for women seeking flexible hours, second jobs for students, and opportunities for low-skilled workersBut in Southeast Asia, this is creating a race to the bottom, amid poor terms and conditions, a saturated market and excessive platform feesVietnamLam Nguyen,Kimberly LimandAidan JonesPublished: 9:30am, 2 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

With low pay, high risks of accidents and an algorithm for an employer, zipping around the rain-slicked streets of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City quickly lost its lustre for 35-year-old Linh Nguyen – part of the armada of overworked delivery riders connecting Southeast Asia’s gig economy.

There have been good days, she says, when the jobs regularly pinged through her phone and kind customers lifted her spirits.

But on the bad days, her body ached from the incessant rattle of 10 hours of driving, and the US$240-280 monthly income failed to cover risking the road and the competition for customers.

“With the salary I earn, I can only afford to pay for my rent and monthly expenses,” said Linh who is a ShopeeFood driver. “I can’t support my parents.”

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