Alibaba to double investment in Lazada Group with $2bn cash injection
Alibaba Group Holdings has announced it will invest further into Southeast Asian e-commerce giant, Lazada.
On Monday, the company stated it plans to invest a further $2bn into Lazada, which will double its investment to date.
Alibaba hopes to accelerate growth and deepen Lazada’s “integration into the Alibaba ecosystem”, according to a joint press release.
Currently, the Lazada Group is the biggest e-commerce platform in the region, operating across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
In 2016, Alibaba invested $1bn into the venture, which it then doubled in 2017 to end up with an 83% stake in the business.
The businesses have expressed that Southeast Asia is “a key part of Alibaba’s growth”. It is hoped that the $2bn investment will help develop the digital economy and foster local talent in the Southeast Asian market. It will also “enable Lazada to tap into Alibaba’s resources to further serve consumers and empower merchants in Southeast Asia in innovative ways”.
In addition, Lazada announced that it has made the group chairman, Lucy Peng, CEO of the company in order to “drive Lazada’s growth strategies”.
Peng has stated: “With a young population, high mobile penetration and just 3% of the region’s retail sales currently conducted online, we feel very confident to double down on Southeast Asia. Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development of internet-enabled commerce in this region, and we are excited about the incredible opportunities for super-charged growth.”
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.