Alibaba to Invest Extra $2b in Lazada in Aggressive Southeast Asian Expansion

Alibaba to Invest Extra $2b in Lazada in Aggressive Southeast Asian Expansion

Chinese multinational and e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced that it is investing an additional $2.6 billion in digital marketplace Lazada, a major player in the Southeast Asian e-commerce market, and appointing one of its most senior executives as the firm's new CEO. Lucy Peng, Lazada's current chairwoman and Alibaba co-founder, will be taking over as CEO from current chief Maximilian Bittner.

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

Lucy Peng, who now serves as Lazada's chairwoman, will assume the additional role of chief executive officer.

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.

"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 supercharged growth", Peng added. Bittner will remain involved as "senior advisor to Alibaba Group" and apparently involved in future strategy, including further worldwide expansion opportunities.

Southeast Asia is an important aspect of Alibaba's global expansion and a thriving region that Chinese arch-foe also targeting.

Lazada will now be further integrated into the Alibaba ecosystem. This brings the total amount invested in Lazada by Alibaba to US$4 billion, to date.

Despite Peng's account that just about three percent of the region's overall retail sales are conducted online, tech companies have continued to flex their muscles in Southeast Asia.

Lazada operates online retail platforms across Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore and is the leading e-commerce provider in the region, with about 560 million consumers using the platform. 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.