Alibaba Group Holding has announced that one of its top executives will be in charge of Southeast Asian eCommerce firm Lazada Group.
According to news from Reuters, Lucy Peng, one of the 18 founders of Alibaba, will take over as Lazada’s chief executive, replacing founder Max Bittner, who will become a senior adviser to Alibaba. She was previously the executive chair of Ant Financial.
In addition, Alibaba revealed that it will invest an additional $2 billion in Lazada Group, doubling its funding to $4 billion. While the company had held an 83 percent stake in Lazada, this latest investment brings its stake to an undisclosed amount. Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and Lazada management are the only other stakeholders in Lazada.
“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,” Alibaba said in a statement.
This recent move also shows Alibaba’s commitment in taking on its biggest rivals: eCommerce giant Amazon and Chinese retailer JD.com.
“With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3 percent of the region’s retail sales currently conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia,” said Peng.
Alibaba — available in more than 200 countries — sees more than 500 million people using its shopping apps each month. The company has started to offer selections of goods from its Taobao platform to Lazada users.
Last year, Ant Financial acquired helloPay Group, which was the payment unit of eCommerce firm Lazada Group. The deal was part of the company’s push to boost Alipay, its payment platform, in Southeast Asia, with Alibaba rebranding helloPay under its own Alipay brand.
Launched in 2012, Lazada Group currently dominates eCommerce activity and web traffic in the markets it serves, mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.