Alibaba to invest extra $2.63 billion in Lazada Group

BEIJING Alibaba said it will invest an extra US$2 billion (S$2.6 billion) in South-east Asian e-commerce firm Lazada Group.

It has tapped a top executive to run the business, as it takes on rivals such as tech titan Amazon in an aggressive expansion in the region.

One of the 18 founders of Alibaba, long-time executive Lucy Peng will take over as Lazada's chief executive, replacing founder Max Bittner, who will become a senior adviser to Alibaba.

Alibaba's stake will increase to an undisclosed amount following the latest investment, a spokesman said.

It held an 83 per cent stake prior to the investment, which now totals US$4 billion after a US$2 billion infusion over the past two years.

"The investment underscores Alibaba's confidence in the future success of Lazada's business and the growth prospect of the South-east Asian market, a region that is a key part of Alibaba's global growth strategy," Alibaba said in a statement.

The new funding in loss-making Lazada underscores Alibaba's ambitious global push to secure a bigger share of the fast-growing online shopping market, backed by large cash piles and soaring stock prices.

It follows a year of aggressive expansion in South-east Asia by the Chinese e-commerce giant and its payment affiliate Ant Financial.- REUTERS