Alibaba invests additional $1 billion in Lazada, raising its stake to 83%

The Singapore Lazada website is seen in this illustration

Alibaba is doubling down on Southeast Asia after it announced a deal to pay close to $1 billion to raise its stake in e-commerce firm Lazada from 51 percent to 83 percent. This transaction demonstrates the continued success of Lazada's business, Alibaba's confidence in the growth potential of the Southeast Asian markets and its commitment to the region as part of its global strategy.

Rocket Internet Wednesday said it had sold its remaining 8.8% stake in Lazada to Alibaba for $276 million and Kinnevik AB sold its 3.6% stake for $115 million. The deal gives Lazada valuation of United States dollars 3.15 billion, much higher than when Alibaba first bought its controlling stake for USD 1 billion in April 2016.

Lazada operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, helping more than 100,000 local and global sellers as well as 2,500 brands, serving consumers in the region through its marketplace platform.

Since then, Alibaba has been investing in Lazada to build up the firm's reach and operations. Germany's Rocket Internet (Swiss: OXRKET.SW - news) and Sweden's Kinnevik (LSE: 0RGZ.L - news) confirmed in separate statements that they were among the selling shareholders.

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"With their (Alibaba) support, we will continue to empower brands and sellers to offer a wide selection of unique assortment to consumers across Southeast Asia while delivering an exceptional customer experience backed by our best-in-class logistics network." said Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Lazada Group. The company is competing with well-funded rivals from MatahariMall to Sea Ltd., but Bittner said Lazada can count on Alibaba's expertise.

The move comes as Alibaba looks to expand its presence in the growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia, which boasts a population of over 600 million. "We will continue to put our resources to work in Southeast Asia through Lazada to capture these growth opportunities", Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, added via a statement. Lazada now runs online storefronts for small regional merchants and worldwide brands including Samsung Electronics and L'Oréal.

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