Jack Ma’s Alibaba is hiking its stake in prominent Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada to 83 percent for roughly US$1 billion, Lazada Group CEO Maximillian Bittner tells Tech in Asia.
The fresh infusion comes a little more than a year after the Chinese ecommerce behemoth snapped up a controlling 51 percent stake in Lazada for the same amount, bringing its total investment so far to over US$2 billion.
The takeover strengthens Alibaba’s foothold in Southeast Asia, a fragmented market of over 600 million people where online retail spend could be worth US$88 billion in a decade – growing at an annual rate of 32 percent, according to a report by Google and Lazada shareholder, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek.
Even beyond Southeast Asia, Lazada is a company to keep an eye on. With LiveUp, they launched in April the first serious competitor to Amazon Prime that we have seen to date. Alibaba investing more in Lazada may have LiveUp, this Prime competitor, -hopefully- in due time spill over into other markets where Alibaba is operating subsidiaries in.
Amazon Prime finally needs some competition. And the rest of the retail industry still seems oblivious to this.
Bloomberg also reports that Alibaba is in talks to buy ZTE’s software stack for the company’s cloud computing suite:
China’s leading e-commerce operator has been in negotiations to buy ZTEsoft Technology Co. for months and is nearing an agreement, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private deal. Alibaba could pay between 2 billion yuan ($294 million) and 3 billion yuan for a division that provides software support and services to carriers around the world, another person said.
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