Alibaba’s Southeast Asian E-Commerce Arm Names James Dong as New CEO

Lazada, a Southeast Asian e-commerce firm owned by Alibaba, has appointed James Dong as CEO of Lazada Group, and he will also serve as CEO of Lazada Indonesia. Chun Li will continue to serve as advisor to Lazada Group’s Chairman, Jiang Fan, and on Lazada’s board of directors. This organizational upgrade indicates that Lazada will continue to firmly invest in local businesses.

James Dong, 42, has worked at Lazada for many years. He was previously in charge of Alibaba‘s post-investment management of Lazada as early as 2016, then he served as CEO of Lazada in Thailand and Vietnam.

In addition, at the end of April this year, Reuters quoted two sources familiar with the matter as saying that Alibaba planned to expand its Southeast Asian e-commerce subsidiary’s business to Europe, seeking to promote overseas business growth under the situation of slowing domestic growth in China. The move comes months after the firm’s logistics arm, Cainiao, opened a European sales center in Belgium. Alibaba already operates in Europe through AliExpress, its global e-commerce platform, which is aimed at consumers looking for goods such as smartphone accessories and clothing from Chinese manufacturers.

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One of the sources said that Lazada plans to target local suppliers in Europe, while AliExpress will continue to focus mainly on cross-border sales from China. James Dong, the chief executive of Lazada Thailand, will help spearhead the plan. Jiang Fan, Alibaba‘s head of overseas business, visited Singapore in April to discuss the expansion, the same source added.

According to public data, in the past year, Lazada’s annual order volume increased by 60%, making it one of the fastest businesses in the Alibaba system. As of the end of September 2021, Lazada’s annual active consumers had increased by 80% to 130 million in the previous 18 months, and monthly active users had increased by more than 70% to 159 million throughout the same period. In addition, in March this year, the number of monthly active sellers of Lazada exceeded 1 million.

Founded in 2012, Lazada currently operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.