Alibaba Group said Tuesday it is investing approximately $1 billion for a controlling stake in Lazada, a leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia.
This is the latest in a string of acquisitions for the company, which claims to be the largest retail economy in the world. Last year, it spent $4.6 billion on electronics chain Suning and bid $3.5 billion to buy the rest of Youku Tudou it didn’t already own.
Lazada, founded in 2012, currently operates e-commerce platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Alibaba, citing Internet Live Stats, said those six countries combined have a population of approximately 560 million and an estimated Internet user base of 200 million. Only three percent of the region’s total retail sales are conducted online, offering “tremendous” growth potential, Alibaba said.
“Globalization is a critical strategy for the growth of Alibaba Group today and well into the future,” said Michael Evans, president of Alibaba. “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 for future growth in one of the most promising regions for e-commerce globally. This investment is consistent with our strategy of connecting brands, distributors and consumers wherever they are and support our ecosystem expansion in Southeast Asia to better serve our customers.”
Alibaba added that it has entered a put-call arrangement with certain Lazada shareholders, giving the Chinese company the right to purchase additional shares in Lazada at fair market value during the 12- to 18-month period after the closing of the transaction.