Lazada founder Max Bittner, who has served as the CEO since 2012, will take on the role of senior advisor to Alibaba Group to assist in the transition and future worldwide growth strategy.
Supported by huge revenue and rising prices of Alibaba's shares, its new financing at Lazada underscores the ambitious global drive to secure a larger share of the billions of dollars of a rapidly expanding online trading market. The statement didn't specify how much of the company Alibaba will own after the latest investment.
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Alibaba said yesterday that this latest move is part of the group's effort to accelerate the region's e-commerce development, and will "deepen Lazada's integration into the Alibaba ecosystem".
"With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3% of the region's retail sales now conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia", Peng said.
Maybank Kim Eng senior economist Chua Hak Bin said that Alibaba's big investment suggests that South-east Asia is becoming the next battleground for global technology giants.
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Alibaba's doubling down in Southeast Asia comes just three months after Amazon launched its Prime service in Singapore. Consultancy Frost & Sullivan forecast total gross merchandise value of e-commerce in the region to rise to $65.5 billion in 2021 from $20.5 billion a year ago. Last April Ant Financial acquired Lazada payment affiliate helloPay Group, re-branding it under its own Alipay brand.
Alibaba said it would invest an additional $2 billion in the e-commerce business.
Ant Financial, where Peng was previously chief executive, has also purchased stakes in a handful of other Southeast Asian Payment ventures.
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Launched in 2012 and headquartered in Singapore, Lazada is the leading online shopping and selling destination in Southeast Asia, with presence in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.