Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said yesterday it would inject another $1 billion into Southeast Asia's Lazada, as the cashed-up company increases its stake in the region's nascent online shopping market. The investment will raise Alibaba's holding in Lazada to 83 percent from 51 percent and take its total outlay on the company so far to more than $2 billion.
"The e-commerce markets in the region are still relatively untapped and we see a very positive upward trajectory ahead of us," said Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang, estimating only three percent of Southeast Asia's retail sales are conducted online.
Alibaba, founded by China's richest man Jack Ma, is a dominant player in the fast-growing online commerce market as shoppers increasingly shun bricks-and-mortar stores. Earlier this month Alibaba forecast annual revenue growth of 45-49 percent. That followed an almost doubling in its net profit in the quarter ended March 31, on a 60 percent surge in revenue.