E-commerce giant Alibaba announced today that it will invest an additional $2 billion in Lazada Group to accelerate the growth plans of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platform and deepen its integration into the Alibaba ecosystem.
This accumulates Alibaba’s total investment in Lazada to $4 billion. Alibaba acquired 51% stake in Lazada in April 2016 with an investment of $1 billion and further increased its stake to 83% with another $1 billion investment in June 2017.
Launched in 2012, Lazada helps more than 145,000 local and international sellers as well as 3,000 brands serving the 560 million consumers in the region through its marketplace platform, offering a wide range of products in categories ranging from consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion, sports equipment, and groceries.
Along with funding also came a shuffle in management. Lucy Peng, who currently serves as Lazada’s Chairman and is a co-founder of Alibaba, will assume the additional role of chief executive officer. Lazada founder Max Bittner, who had been its chief executive officer since 2012, will assume the role of senior advisor to Alibaba Group and assist in the transition and future international growth strategies.
“With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3% of the region’s retail sales currently conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia. Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development of Internet-enabled commerce in this region, and we are excited about the incredible opportunities for super- charged growth,” said Peng.
“Alibaba’s new commitment of capital and resources is good for Lazada and good for the Southeast Asia e-commerce market. I am excited about the future for Lazada and Lazadians and I look forward to continuing to contribute to the success of the business by helping Lucy and Alibaba’s management,” said Bittner.
It’s not only the e-commerce part that Alibaba is interested in the burgeoning region. The tech behemoth had made significant investments in the area over the years. Alibaba Cloud announced this month that it has opened its first data center in Indonesia. In January, Alibaba Cloud launched Malaysia City Brain to help its city traffic, trade and also to grow local startups.