Alibaba doubles Lazada investment to $4 billion in aggressive Southeast Asian expansion

(FinancialPress) — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) revealed that it will be upping its investment in Asian e-commerce company Lazada Group by $2 billion. The company‘s efforts to compete in the region with major global platform Amazon continue to get more aggressive, as they also announced that a top executive has been hired to take on the Group‘s new acquisition.

The person chosen for the task is Lucy Peng, one of Alibaba‘s 18 founding members. Peng is a veteran executive, and will take the reins of Lazada as chief executive. The move will bump out Max Bittner – founder of the platform. He will remain onboard as senior adviser for the company.

The investment marks a two-fold increase in Alibaba‘s investment in Lazada – going from $2 billion over the past two years, to a total of $4 billion. Alibaba‘s stake will rise to an undisclosed number, but it is known that, before the execution of the deal, it held a 83% stake in Lazada.

A statement released by Alibaba said that “the 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,”

Aggressive expansion

Alibaba‘s funding of the cash-bleeding Lazada platform highlights the company‘s ambitious push for a bigger piece of the worldwide e-commerce pie.

The Jack Ma-led company has recently started enjoying enviable financial health, with stock prices soaring and large cash injections.

Newly-appointed CEO Lucy Peng chimed in on the new deal, stating that “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 also serves as chairwoman of executives at Ant Financial, a tech company that provides financial services that was previously branded Alipay.

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