Alibaba puts United States dollars 2 bln more into Lazada, gives it new CEO

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will invest another $2 billion in Lazada Group SA and install one of its most senior executives to run the business as it doubles its bet on Southeast Asia.

According to a statement today, Lucy Peng who is already chairman of Lazada would take over as chief executive officer. The company first invested in Lazada in 2016, with United States dollars 1 billion.

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

Southeast Asia is an important aspect of Alibaba's global expansion and a thriving region that Chinese arch-foe also targeting.

In 2016, Alibaba acquired control of Lazada with an investment of US$1 billion, and boosted its stake to 83 per cent past year with an additional investment of US$1 billion.

Southeast Asia is a lucrative market for e-commerce players as millions of first-generation internet users embrace online shopping.

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The region's online economy is expected to grow by as much as $200 billion by 2025, with this growth largely driven by eCommerce.

Amazon entered the market for the first time past year, with the launch of its express, same-day delivery service, Prime Now in Singapore.

Indeed, with 640 million consumers, a growing middle class and deepening smartphone penetration, Southeast Asia is shaping up as a major battleground for technology giants.

"If India was the first key battleground between US and Chinese vertical-leaders, then Southeast Asia is surely the second", said Lloyd. Last year, Alibaba's Ant Financial Services Group had purchased Lazada's helloPay and rebranded it under Alipay.

"We continue to focus on initiatives that unlock the full potential of the e-commerce market that these investments create, to advance SingPost's transformation into a leading postal and e-commerce logistics company", he said.

Launched in 2012, Lazada boasts more than 145,000 local and worldwide sellers and 3,000 brands throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.