Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is paying US$1 billion for a controlling stake in Singapore e-commerce startup Lazada Group, its biggest overseas acquisition to date.
The Chinese e-commerce giant is betting on growth in populous Southeast Asia, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Lazada sells everything from rice cookers to smartphones and operates e-commerce platforms throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The acquisition comes as Alibaba has been using its US$3.7 billion in free cash flow to expand into e-commerce, logistics and media, as well as entertainment both at home and abroad.
In December, Alibaba agreed to pay HK$2.06 billion (US$266 million) for Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post.
“Globalization is a critical strategy for the growth of Alibaba Group today and well into the future,” said Alibaba president Michael Evans.
Separately, an Alibaba spokesman said the company will be able to tap into Lazada’s “logistics backbone.”
Chinese companies have been on an acquisition sprees as they seek to expand into new areas and as growth slows at home.
They have turned into voracious suitors this year, agreeing to US$92.3 billion of foreign takeovers in industries from semiconductors to agriculture, compared with US$106.7 billion for all of 2015, according to data provider Dealogic.
Last year, Alibaba, along with Foxconn Technology Group and SoftBank Group Co., took part in a US$500 million investment in Indian e-commerce startup Snapdeal.com.
In 2014, Alibaba bought a minority stake in Singapore’s main postal service for US$249 million to create an international e-commerce logistics business.
– Contact us at [email protected]