Alibaba Raises Stake in Southeast Asia's Lazada

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He is expected to support the new phase for Alibaba and Lazada and also assist with Alibaba's future growth strategy.

Long-time Alibaba executive Lucy Peng will take over as Lazada's chief executive, replacing founder Max Bittner who will become a senior advisor to Alibaba. The company held a 83% stake in Lazada before the investment, which now stands at 4 billion United States dollars after the 2 billion USD injection over the past two years. Last year, it upped its stake to 83% with another $1 billion.

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

"The investment highlights Alibaba's confidence in Lazada's future business success and Southeast Asian growth prospects, a region that is a key part of Alibaba's global growth strategy", said the Chinese technology giant in official statement. Peng was one of Alibaba's 18 founders and a senior partner at Alibaba Partnership.

Meanwhile, Lazada founder Max Bittner - who has served as CEO since 2012 - will take on the role of senior advisor to Alibaba to assist in the transition and future worldwide growth strategy.

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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.

"With a young population, high mobile penetration and just three per cent of the region's retail sales now conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on South East Asia", she said. The firm also invested $1.1 billion in Tokopedia which competes with Lazada in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy and the world's fourth most populous country.

Alibaba's doubling down in Southeast Asia comes just three months after Amazon launched its Prime service in Singapore.

According to an official statement, Alibaba's decision to invest in Lazada will not only strengthen its business relationships but will help the Singapore based eCommerce firm explore the eCommerce tools & resources of Alibaba.