Alibaba is increasing its investments in Lazada after announcing today (March 19) that it will be pumping in an additional USD2 billion, on top of the investment and stakes it already has in the Southeast Asian ecommerce company.
At the same time, the Chinese ecommerce giant also announced that the current chief executive of Lazada, Maximilian Bittner, will be making way for Lucy Peng, who currently serves as Lazada’s chairman and is one of Alibaba’s 18 founders. She is also executive chair at Ant Financial, another business Alibaba has invested in, which runs its Alipay service.
Bittner, who founded Lazada and has held the role since 2012, will join Alibaba and take on the role of senior advisor to assist in the transition and future international growth strategies.
“With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3% of the region’s retail sales currently conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia. 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,” said Peng.
“Lazada has been an extremely entrepreneurial organization led by Max Bittner. It has achieved rapid growth over the years and created a tremendous amount of shareholder value under Max’s leadership. I want to thank Max for giving Alibaba the opportunity to continue its success and develop the company from solid foundations into the next phase of growth,” she added.
According to the company, the new investment will further integrate Lazada into the Alibaba ecosystem and allow it to tap on Alibaba’s resources to further serve consumers and empower merchants in SEA in innovative ways.
Alibaba took over control of Lazada in 2016 with an investment of US$1bn and further increased its stake to 83% with a similar investment amount last year.