Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group announced on Monday (Mar 19) it will invest an additional US$2 billion (S$2.6 billion) in Lazada, two years after it acquired a controlling stake in the Singapore-headquartered e-commerce site.
CEO Maximilian Bittner will also step down and be replaced by current chairwoman Lucy Peng, Alibaba said in a press release.
The latest move will bring Alibaba’s total investment in the online shopping platform to US$4 billion. This is part of the company’s efforts to “accelerate the region’s e-commerce development”, Alibaba said.
In 2016, the Chinese company acquired a controlling stake in Lazada for US$1 billion. The following year, it upped its stake to 83 per cent with another US$1 billion injection.
Ms Peng will remain as chairwoman and will assume the additional role of CEO. She is one of the 18 founders and a senior partner in Alibaba Group. She replaces Mr Bittner, who has been CEO since 2012 and will transit to the role of senior adviser to “assist in the transition and future international growth strategy”.
“With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3 per cent of the region’s retail sales currently conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia,” said Ms Peng. “Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development and of Internet-enabled commerce in this region.”
Lazada was launched in 2012 and has a presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Last September, it announced it will sell select items from Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace in three more Southeast Asia markets – Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines – in addition to Singapore and Malaysia.