Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is planning to raise its stake in online mall Lazada to 83 per cent from 51 per cent at present in a bid to strengthen its foothold in Southeast Asia.
To do so, Alibaba plans to invest US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion), which would bring its total investment in Lazada to US$2 billion.
The investment from Alibaba shows its optimism about online retail in Southeast Asia. Based on an analysis by Google and Temasek Holdings last year, the region's internet economy was predicted to grow to US$200 billion by 2025.
"The e-commerce markets in the region are still relatively untapped, and we see a very positive upward trajectory ahead of us," Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba, said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.
The Chinese e-commerce leader said it will purchase shares from certain Lazada shareholders at an implied valuation of US$3.15 billion.
Founded in 2012, the Singapore-based startup Lazada operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Lazada had about 23 million active buyers as of March 2017.