Alibaba commits to Lazada with fresh $2bn investment


Lucy Peng, a co-founder at Alibaba and now Lazada's chairwoman, would take on the additional role from current chief Maximilian Bittner.

For the record, Alibaba had invested almost United States dollars 2 billion in Lazada Group during the last two years for acquiring a controlling stake in the firm.

Alongside the investment, Alibaba said that the start-up would also have a new CEO. The company added an additional $1 billion investment in June 2017, which took its stake up to 83 percent, and solidified the brand's influence over Lazada.

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

"The investment underscores Alibaba's confidence in the future success of Lazada's business and the growth prospect of the Southeast Asian market, a region that is a key part of Alibaba's global growth strategy", said Alibaba in a statement. Peng was one of Alibaba's 18 founders and a senior partner at Alibaba Partnership.

In a statement published on the Lazada website today (19 March), it was also announced that Lucy Peng, who now serves as Lazada's Chairman, will assume the additional role of chief executive officer. In August, Alibaba also invested $1.1 billion in Tokopedia, Indonesia's largest online marketplace.

Online retail sales in China are off to a strong start for the year, creating upside potential for Alibaba. "Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development and of Internet-enabled commerce in this region".

The region's online economy is expected to grow by as much as $200 billion by 2025, with this growth largely driven by eCommerce. Both Amazon and Alibaba have long competed for the biggest global market share, with the former commanding United States e-commerce while the latter remains strong in its home turf.

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

Alibaba's doubling down in Southeast Asia comes just three months after Amazon launched its Prime service in Singapore.

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