Economic review

SE Asia's leading e-commerce company upbeat on prospect in Malaysia as it joins hands with Alibaba

2017-05-19 15:42:00 (Beijing Time)         Xinhua

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Southeast Asia's leading online shopping platform Lazada is upbeat on the e-commerce prospect in Malaysia where it has seen faster growth recently, as the company is joining hands in a Digital Free Trade Zone announced by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba and Malaysian government.

Hans-Peter Ressel, CEO of Lazada Malaysia, said the Southeast Asian country has all the necessary enablers for e-commerce, including high penetration rate of internet, smartphones, credit card as well as a population highly active on social media.

Southeast Asia is still far lagging behind China in e-commerce as the online sales already account for more than 10 percent of total retail sales in China, but Ressel was confident on the potential in the region.

"China started their journey like 10 years earlier," he told Xinhua in an interview this week, "We expect Malaysia and Southeast Asia to be there too, and it might not take 10 years, might be a little bit faster."

In 2016, Lazada Malaysia recorded the fattest growth in the Lazada group with more than 100 percent growth in terms of revenue, Ressel said, adding that it has seen even faster growth so far this year partly thanks to an increasing loyal customer base.

Lazada Malaysia this week unveiled its own social commerce channel, Lazada TV, which featuring live videos including make-up tips, tech reviews, with collaboration with renowned brands on the platform.

Launched in March 2012, Lazada is Southeast Asia's leading online shopping and selling destination, with presence in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Ressel praised the Malaysian government for its effort to develop e-commerce.

"Malaysia is at the forefront when it comes to government support in digital economy," he said.

In March, Alibaba group and a main investor in Lazada, announced with the Malaysian government to develop a Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Malaysia.

During his recent trip to China, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited Alibaba group in Hangzhou of Zhejiang province. He wrote on his personal blog that he expected DFTZ to create 60,000 jobs and to provide Malaysian small and medium enterprises with greater access to the foreign markets.

It was announced that for the first phase of DFTZ, Alibaba's logistic platform Cainiao and Lazada will lead the effort to develop a regional fulfilment hub near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

"Within this year there will be the first phase rolled out, so far we are on track and I believe that a lot of exiting things are coming in the next couple of months," Ressel said.

The CEO said Lazada has received insights from Alibaba in its experience and development and was inspired by Alibaba's approach to empower sellers online.

"We know Southeast Asia, we are in this market and there are certain ways that we are doing things here," he said, "But obviously having such a big brother it can help you with certain things and it's very helpful for Lazada."