Alibaba puts top executive in charge of Lazada in Southeast Asia push

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 19, 2018

Alibaba's first investment came in April 2016 when it bought 51 percent of Lazada for $1 billion, and it added another $1 billion last summer to increase its equity to around 83 percent.

Alibaba's worldwide commerce retail business, which includes its Southeast Asia-focused online shopping marketplace Lazada and its global retail marketplace AliExpress, touched 4.73 billion yuan in sales, up 93 per cent from the same period a year ago.

Aibaba Group said Monday it will inject a further $2 billion into Southeast Asian online shopping giant Lazada as part of the group's ongoing effort to accelerate the region's e-commerce development.

Alibaba, which has posted double-digit revenue growth every year since 2013, has started offering curated selections of goods from its own Taobao platform to Lazada users.

Following the investment, Lucy Peng, who now serves as Lazada Group chairwoman, will take over the role of chief executive officer, replacing founder Max Bittner, who will become a senior advisor to Alibaba.

In line with this fresh funding, Lucy Peng - one of Alibaba's 18 co-founders and current chairman of Lazada - will assume the additional role of chief executive officer (CEO) of Lazada.

Peng is also a senior partner at Alibaba and executive chair at Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba.

Speaking of the decision to increase their stake in Lazada, she had this to say: "With a young population, high mobile penetration and just three percent of the region's retail sales now conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia". Peng has held high-profile positions within the Alibaba Group, including being its chief people officer, before leading Ant Financial.

The region's internet economy is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2025, primarily driven by growth in e-commerce.

According to the company, the new investment will further integrate Lazada into the Alibaba ecosystem and allow it to tap on Alibaba's resources to further serve consumers and empower merchants in SEA in innovative ways.

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