Alibaba Group Holdings plans another $2-bn investment in Lazada Group SA

Alibaba Will Invest Another $2 Billion in Online Mall Lazada

Alibaba is increasing its control of Lazada, its e-commerce marketplace in Southeast Asia it acquired control of in 2016, after it injected another $2 billion into the business and replaced its CEO with a long-standing Alibaba executive.

One of the founders of Alibaba, longtime director Lucy Peng, will become CEO of Lazada, replacing founder Max Bittner, who will move to Alibaba as senior advisor.

Alibaba's stake will increase to an undisclosed size following the latest investment, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

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 global growth strategy.

Alibaba initially acquired a controlling stake in Singapore-based Lazada in 2016 for an investment valued at $1 billion, then increased its stake further with another $1 billion investment a year ago, raising its total to $4 billion.

Alibaba has further stated that its association with Lazada will fulfill its business objective of becoming a huge player across the Southeast Asian eCommerce market. Bittner will remain involved as "senior advisor to Alibaba Group" and apparently involved in future strategy, including further global expansion opportunities.

It follows a year of brisk expansion in Southeast Asia by the Chinese e-commerce giant and its payment affiliate Ant Financial, as it faces off against the world's biggest online retailer Amazon.com Inc and fellow Chinese retailer JD.com Inc to tap new consumers in the region.

"With a young population, high mobile penetration and just three per cent of the region's retail sales now conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on South East Asia", she said.

Lazada has operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

Alibaba also said Lazada will change CEOs.

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. On Monday, Alibaba announced it would invest $2 billion in an online retailer.

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