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Alibaba paid $1 billion for a controlling stake in the Amazon of Southeast Asia

Lazada was founded by Rocket Internet, the German startup incubator.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Alibaba has acquired a majority stake in Lazada, a Southeast Asia e-commerce company that runs shopping sites in countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Alibaba paid $1 billion to purchase between half and two-thirds of the company’s shares.

The deal marks the largest acquisition outside of China for Alibaba, which is starting to make big moves overseas while still fending off competitors like back home. Last year, Alibaba helped lead a $500 million minority investment in India’s Snapdeal.

With these investments, Alibaba is buying a foothold into small but fast-growing e-commerce markets in some of the world’s most populous regions. India is the No. 2 most-populous country, while Indonesia is No. 4 after the U.S. Both regions have seen an increase in smartphone adoption and Internet penetration in recent years, but still are relatively small e-commerce markets today.

Lazada was founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, the German Internet conglomerate best known in the U.S. as an incubator of businesses that clone successful American companies. Lazada executives are expected to stay on in their current roles.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that Alibaba’s investment in Snapdeal happened this year; it happened last year.

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