Alibaba doubles down on investing in Lazada Group

In a move that is sure to have air cargo repercussions in the near future, the owners of China’s Alibaba e-commerce marketplace have sent a message to rival Amazon by doubling its initial US$2 billion investment in Southeast Asian e-commerce firm Lazada Group to $4 billion.

In addition, Alibaba co-founder Lucy Peng was named as Lazada’s CEO. Peng will take the place of Max Bittner, who will join Alibaba as a senior adviser.

Prior to the announcement, Alibaba held an 83 percent stake in Lazada, but Alibaba would not disclose how much it would own following the new investment.

Lazada has, so far, operated at a loss, so the move is likely an attempt by Alibaba to grab more market share in the Asian e-commerce market in its intense rivalry with Amazon.

According to a statement from Alibaba, the increased 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.”

“With a young population, high mobile penetration and just three percent of the region’s retail sales currently conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia,” Peng said to Reuters.

Alibaba, which operates in more than 200 countries, has in excess of 500 million customer using its shopping apps each month.

Not to be outdone, Amazon began offering a two-hour delivery in Singapore last year, while China-based JD.com built its own logistics network in Indonesia. In January, JD.com announced an investment in Vietnamese e-tailer Tiki.vn.

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