How Alibaba’s Lazada is Preparing to Win Southeast Asia


Sometimes, you have to become a teacher first in order to become a strong marketplace provider.

Tech in Asia:

Alibaba and Lazada will team up to offer “ecommerce training” to 30,000 small businesses in Thailand in order “to aid their access to both domestic and international ecommerce platforms,” said the Chinese company in a statement. This will bring more vendors onto both Lazada and Alibaba’s Chinese stores, which are open marketplaces for sellers of all sizes. […]

Ma is helping Lazada replicate how he built up his China marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall, in the early days – by educating business owners on how their small operations can reach shoppers across the region – or even globally – by going online. And in playing the politician, he’s seeking to persuade Thailand’s government that ecommerce is a job creator.

Small businesses are a big part of Jack Ma’s “religion,” he explained in 2010. He believes “small is beautiful” and that Alibaba’s raison d’être is to be a medium for vendors to sell directly to consumers. Now, for the first time, it’s clear that Jack Ma’s fanaticism is being applied to Lazada.

Alibaba bought Lazada from Rocket Internet in April of this year.

Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Lazada, talked recently to CNBC about life under Alibaba:

However, the deep experience Alibaba has gained in China and working with founder and executive chairman Jack Ma and co-founder and vice chairman Joe Tsai has allowed Bittner to shorten his own learning curve.

“For me, the single biggest advantage is really that ability to leapfrog some of that painful trial and error,” he adds.

With Alibaba onboard, Lazada proceeded to buy Singapore online grocery start-up Redmart for $50 million. “The primary objective (for the deal) has been very much about Redmart’s management and logistics capabilities,” Bittner says, “It’s about building our logistics footprint.”

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