Corporate News

Local firms unfazed by Alibaba’s Lazada buy

Posted on April 18, 2016

UNFAZED by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s acquisition of Lazada Group SA, local e-commerce players are investing in logistics to ramp up their operations, seeing the deal as a vote of confidence in the Southeast Asian region’s online shopping industry.

A WOMAN walks past the Alibaba booth during an exhibition in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province in this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo. -- AFP
“Alibaba’s recent investment in Lazada is a confirmation of Southeast Asia’s potential to be a hotbed of e-commerce and is likely to further accelerate consumer adoption of online shopping,” Paulo L. Campos III, co-founder and chief executive officer of Zalora Philippines, said in a recent e-mail interview.

Asked if his company is worried with the increased competition expected with the Chinese giant’s acquisition of Lazada, Sulit Managing Partner Anton F. Sheker said in a separate e-mail reply: “No. Alibaba’s investment in Lazada is proof that untapped markets are ripe for the picking. It may even spark a land rush to acquire players in the market.”

Alibaba, founded by China’s richest man Jack Ma, is spending $1 billion to take control of Lazada, Bloomberg reported on April 13. The deal marks Alibaba’s foray into Southeast Asia and its biggest overseas investment to date.

Lazada, founded in 2012 by Germany’s Rocket Internet SE, operates in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It sells discount items from home appliances, fashion and accessories, watches, cameras, to consumer electronics and gadgets, according to its Web site.

Classified ads Web site Sulit, said will focus on increasing its “visibility” to grow its market reach and user base.

“Lazada is B2C (business to consumer) while Sulit is C2C (consumer to consumer). People go to Lazada to get brand new items, and people come to Sulit to look for used, pre-loved, vintage and even collectibles and other local items that may not be found in retail or online stores,” Mr. Sheker said.

For its part, fashion online retailer Zalora said it is investing on “logistics, operations and technology” and sealing partnerships to convert traditional buyers into e-consumers.

“Zalora is perfectly positioned to change the way people shop for fashion in this part of the world,” Mr. Campos said. -- Daphne J. Magturo