China’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba is expanding its footprints to South East Asia. It has announced buying a controlling stake in online retailer Lazada for about $1 billion. The company will pay US $500 million for new shares in Lazada and also purchase stock from existing shareholders, including German incubator Rocket Internet AG and British supermarket operator Tesco. This is Alibaba’s biggest overseas investment so far.
Alibaba had earlier made waves by announcing its intentions to enter the Indian market.
Founded in 2012, Lazada operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It is South East Asia’s largest e-commerce player with an annualized GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) of $1.36 billion in March 2016.
Alibaba President Michael Evans said in a statement, “With the investment in Lazada, Alibaba gains access to a platform with a large and growing consumer base outside China, a proven management team and a solid foundation.” Alibaba got more than 86 per cent of its revenue from China in the December quarter. However, Chairman Jack Ma has set a target of getting at least half the company’s revenue from overseas; the Lazada deal would be a defining step in that direction.
Earlier, during 2015, Alibaba had invested in India’s online marketplace Snapdeal and mobile payment and commerce platform Paytm, run by One 97 Communications. In February 2016, there were reports that Alibaba was also exploring acquisition of a stake in Flipkart.