Rocket's Lazada gets $100 million in bid to be Southeast Asia's Amazon

Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:30pm EDT
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By Jeremy Wagstaff

(Reuters) - Lazada, the Southeast Asian online retail company founded by Germany's Rocket Internet Gmbh, has secured another $100 million from investors in its bid to lift the region from its status as an e-commerce backwater.

While online shopping is big in Europe, the United States and even in China, where it is likely to account for 6 percent of all retail business this year, Southeast Asians still prefer to do 99 percent of their shopping offline, the company estimates.

Lazada, which operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, hopes to change that.

"We see the same positive trends across the region," said Singapore-based Lazada CEO Maximilian Bittner. "What a country like Vietnam or Indonesia may not have in GDP they make up for in enthusiasm for online."

On Thursday it announced that it had secured $100 million in funding from existing investors Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kinnevik Investment AB, Summit Partners and Tengelmann Group, as well as new investor Verlinvest, a Belgian family-owned investment holding company. It was Lazada's largest single round of funding to date.

He declined to give details about how the round, which follows smaller injections earlier this year and late last year, would affect Rocket's stake in the company.

Berlin-based Rocket Internet has launched multiple e-commerce websites in the past few years, most of them in emerging markets.

They include Africa's Zando and Jumia, Zalando in Europe and Dafiti in Brazil. Earlier this month Lamoda, a Russian version of Zalando, secured $130 million in a funding round that included Summit Partners and Tengelmann.   Continued...