Alibaba’s Lazada expands sale of Taobao merchandise to more Southeast Asian countries

E-commerce campaign to bring selected range of merchandise from main Alibaba retail platforms Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com rolls out in Indonesia, followed by the Philippines and Thailand

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 September, 2017, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 3:05pm

Lazada Group, the Southeast Asian e-commerce titan, is extending its campaign to introduce a select range of Taobao merchandise in the region to Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, months after Alibaba Group Holding increased its stake in the “unicorn” start-up with another US$1 billion investment.

The expansion intensifies Alibaba’s bid to engage the fast-growing retail markets across Southeast Asia, which would accelerate its push towards achieving two billion global consumers by 2020.

“This is a true testament to the way the Lazada and Alibaba teams have come together to build the business in a fast and efficient way, combining consumer insights, technology know-how and local expertise,” said Lazada chief marketplace officer Aimone Ripa di Meana in a statement.

Founded in 2012, Lazada forms part of Alibaba’s international e-commerce business along with China outbound platform AliExpress.

New York-listed Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce services provider, last month reported revenue from its international e-commerce business grew 136 per cent year on year to 2.6 billion yuan (US$394 million) in the quarter ended June 30.

The Taobao Collection campaign, which covers a curated range of goods sourced from main Alibaba retail platforms Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, was first launched by Lazada in its home market of Singapore six months ago, followed by Malaysia.

The campaign was rolled out in Indonesia on Monday, which will be followed by launches in the Philippines on October 11 and Thailand on November 1.

Lazada said it currently offers around 175 million products from international and local market brands and merchants across Southeast Asia.

The company estimates the Taobao Collection will contribute an average of about eight million new goods on offer for each of its five markets in the region, which includes Vietnam.

It said the most-popular product categories in the Taobao Collection included home decoration, kitchenware and furnishings, and an assortment of ladies, men’s and kids’ apparel and accessories.

Taobao Collection is expected to “take off in the region as it becomes available in more countries”, Lazada’s Ripa di Meana said.

Southeast Asia’s total e-commerce revenue is forecast to exceed US$25 billion by 2020, according to business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. It said the region’s largest online retail markets are currently Malaysia and Thailand.

“We expect more than 50 per cent of annual average revenue growth from Alibaba’s international retail commerce efforts over the next five years,” said RJ Hottovy, a consumer strategist at Morningstar, in a recent report.

Alibaba, which also owns the South China Morning Post, announced in June a further US$1 billion investment in Lazada, which increased its stake to 83 per cent from the previous 51 per cent and raised the valuation of Southeast Asia’s biggest e-commerce company to US$3.1 billion, according to venture capital database service CB Insights.

The Hangzhou-based conglomerate made its initial US$1 billion investment in Lazada on April 2016, turning the company into a unicorn – a start-up valued at more than US$1 billion.