Alibaba investing an additional $2bn in Lazada

Robyn Valdez
March 20, 2018

Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a Chinese eCommerce & retail firm, is expected to provide an additional investment worth United States dollars 2 billion to Lazada Group SA, an eCommerce firm headquartered in Singapore.

Lucy Peng was named the new CEO after Max Bittner stepped down from the top spot to take on a role as senior adviser.

The new investment, which follows Alibaba spending $2-billion to take control of Lazada, will help the company with technology development and customer acquisition.

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Alibaba's stake will increase to an undisclosed size following the latest investment, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

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.

Alibaba initially acquired a controlling stake in Singapore-based Lazada in 2016 for an investment valued at $1 billion, then increased its stake further with another $1 billion investment past year, raising its total to $4 billion. Bittner will remain involved as "senior advisor to Alibaba Group" and apparently involved in future strategy, including further global expansion opportunities.

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The e-commerce market in Southeast Asia holds a lot of potential but is also highly fragmented.

"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", said Peng, who is also the executive chair at Ant Financial.

The region's online economy is expected to grow by as much as $200 billion by 2025, with this growth largely driven by eCommerce. "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", Bittner said.

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Launched in 2012, Lazada operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Last year, the retail titan ramped up its takeover with the launch of its two-hour Prime delivery in Singapore.

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