Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Alibaba is investing an additional $2.6B in ecommerce in Southeast Asia

Alibaba is investing an additional $2.6B in ecommerce in Southeast Asia

The move is likely an effort to consolidate its presence in an increasingly competitive market.

In line with this fresh funding, Lucy Peng - one of Alibaba's 18 co-founders and current chairman of Lazada - will assume the additional role of chief executive officer (CEO) of Lazada.

For the record, Alibaba had invested almost United States dollars 2 billion in Lazada Group during the last two years for acquiring a controlling stake in the firm.

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"Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development of Internet-enabled commerce in this region, and we are excited about the incredible opportunities for supercharged growth", Peng added.

In a statement published on the Lazada website today (19 March), it was also announced that Lucy Peng, who now serves as Lazada's Chairman, will assume the additional role of chief executive officer.

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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Mr Paul Coutts, CEO of Singapore Post, which is backed by Alibaba, said that any investment of a significant magnitude will accelerate the growth of e-commerce in Singapore and the region. A Google-Temasek study in May 2016 estimated that the region's internet economy would be worth $200 billion by 2025, and e-commerce would be a primary engine for this growth. Global e-commerce giant Amazon entered the region past year, but is so far active only in Singapore. Indonesian firm Shopee is a rapidly growing new entrant in the sector that raised over $1 billion in a US IPO last year, despite being only two years old.

"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", Alibaba said in a statement.

The China-based conglomerate now operates in more than 200 countries, recently putting down $20 million in Rent the Runway and beginning operations in its first Indonesia-based data center through its cloud computing arm, Alibaba Cloud.

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