Date
24 April 2018
Lucy Peng stepped down as chairman of Ant Financial to become the chief executive of Singapore-based e-commerce firm Lazada. Photo: Sohu
Lucy Peng stepped down as chairman of Ant Financial to become the chief executive of Singapore-based e-commerce firm Lazada. Photo: Sohu

Lucy Peng move shows Alibaba has high hopes for Lazada

Lucy Peng, often described as the most important woman in e-commerce giant Alibaba, has decided to step down as the chairwoman of the group’s key fintech arm Ant Financial.

She is going to head Lazada, a Southeast Asian e-commerce firm that Alibaba acquired in 2016 for US$1 billion.

Peng, 47, is one of Alibaba’s 18 co-founders. She was a former teacher who joined Alibaba following her husband Sun Tongyu, the former president of online shopping mall Taobao.

Until 2013, Peng had been the chief people officer (CPO) of Alibaba, responsible for safeguarding the group’s unique corporate culture and values.

For a few years, she took up the additional role as Alipay chief executive and helped lay the foundation of Ant Financial. Peng also played a key role in resolving Alibaba’s knock-off crisis in 2014.

Like most women with a successful career, Peng constantly faces the challenge of balancing the demands of family and work.

In 2008, she divorced her husband, who moved to Singapore. But shortly after that, they remarried, and since then, Peng has been flying between China and Singapore to maintain the relationship.

Peng’s latest career move tell us a couple of things.

Personally, Peng appears determined to spend more time with her family.

Headquartered in Singapore, Lazada is simply the best fit for Peng, who has reportedly paid S$51 million (US$38.9 million) for a unit at the luxury residential complex Le Nouvel Ardmore. The apartment is said to have an indoor living area of 14,000 square feet with a private pool and own lift.

On the company side, positioning Peng at Lazada implies the strategic value of Southeast Asia to Alibaba. The group has high hopes for Lazada to become the gateway for Alibaba to carve out a bigger slice of the market in the region.

Under Peng, who has a lot of experience in cultivating new businesses, Lazada, which currently has a market value of around US$4 billion, could one day become a key profit contributor within the Alibaba group.

The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 10

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/CG

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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