Alibaba doubles down on investing in Lazada Group

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans another $2 billion worth of investment in privately-owned German e-commerce company Lazada Group SA and have one of its most senior executives run the business as it doubles its bet in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Lazada founder Max Bittner, who has been its CEO since 2012, will assume the role of senior advisor to Alibaba Group and assist in the transition and future worldwide growth strategies.

Alibaba has previously invested $2 billion in the Singapore-based firm, bringing its total investment to $4 billion.

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.

"Alibaba's new commitment of capital and resources is good for Lazada and good for the Southeast Asia e-commerce market", said Bittner.

Alibaba's first investment came in April 2016 when it bought 51 percent of Lazada for $1 billion, and it added another $1 billion last summer to increase its equity to around 83 percent.

Peng is also a senior partner at Alibaba and executive chair at Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba.

According to commentators, Southeast Asia is a lucrative market for e-commerce players as millions of first-generation internet users go online for shopping.

Online retail sales in China are off to a strong start for the year, creating upside potential for Alibaba.

Launched in 2012, Lazada boasts more than 145,000 local and global sellers and 3,000 brands throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

"Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development and of Internet-enabled commerce in this region", Ms Peng said.

Amazon entered the market for the first time past year, with the launch of its express, same-day delivery service, Prime Now in Singapore. 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.

  • David Armstrong