Alibaba is doubling down on Southeast Asia as its rivals, including Amazon, are moving in
By Josh Horwitz
When China’s Alibaba purchased a 51% stake in Lazada about two years ago, it was betting on one of the few online shopping giants in Southeast Asia. Now the region is becoming far more competitive, prompting the e-commerce juggernaut to get even more involved, announcing today an additional investment of $2 billion in Lazada.
The latest round will bring Alibaba’s investment in Lazada to $4 billion. It follows a $1 billion investment last year, which added to its initial $1 billion purchase of a majority stake in Lazada in April 2016. The latter deal signaled that Alibaba, long dominant in China, would enter Southeast Asia by buying an existing player rather than by building a presence there from scratch.
The company has taken measures to involve itself more directly in Lazada’s operations. Over the past year, key leaders from Alibaba have moved over to Lazada, including the former CTO of Alibaba’s business-to-business shopping site. The company today announced that Lucy Peng, one of Alibaba’s 18 co-founders and the current chairwoman of Ant Financial, its financial services branch, will serve as Lazada’s CEO. She’ll replace Maximilian Bittner, who led the company when it was launched under Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based startup factoryknown for copying successful internet business models in developing markets.
Photo courtesy of Remko van Dokkum.