Finance

Alibaba prioritizes SEA expansion, pours in Dollars 2bn more in Lazada

Alibaba prioritizes SEA expansion, pours in Dollars 2bn more in Lazada”

Long-time Alibaba executive Lucy Peng will take over as Lazada's chief executive, replacing founder Max Bittner who will become a senior advisor to Alibaba. The statement didn't specify how much of the company Alibaba will own after the latest investment.

Peng, who was chairman of Lazada before taking on the role of CEO, said Southeast Asia will be an integral part of the company's growth.

It held an 83 per cent stake prior to the investment, which now totals US$4 billion after a US$2 billion infusion over the past two years.

Internet economy in the region is projected to grow to $200 billion by 2025, primarily driven by growth in e-commerce.

"The investment highlights Alibaba's confidence in Lazada's future business success and Southeast Asian growth prospects, a region that is a key part of Alibaba's global growth strategy", said the Chinese technology giant in official statement. Ms. Peng is one of Alibaba's 18 founders and a senior partner in the Alibaba Partnership.

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Alibaba's move is not surprising, as Southeast Asia is fast becoming a very profitable market for eCommerce businesses now that millions of Internet users have discovered the joys of online shopping.

Launched in 2012, Lazada operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

"With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3% of the region's retail sales now conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia", Peng said. In August, Alibaba also invested $1.1 billion in Tokopedia, Indonesia's largest online marketplace. It also serves more than 560 million consumers throughout the region.

In addition, its cloud business has invested heavily in building data center infrastructure in the region, facilitating the spread of its digital commerce and payments services.

Incidentally, it has been speculated that the Lazada investment will help Alibaba register a double-digit regional growth and tap new business growth opportunities across Southeast Asia.



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