Alibaba Group said Friday it named Chun Li as Group Chief Executive Officer of Lazada, the company’s flagship e-commerce service in Southeast Asia, effective July 1.
Li has been with Alibaba since 2014, joining as chief technology officer for the company’s B2B division. He moved to Lazada in 2017 and has since served as both group president and CEO of Lazada Indonesia. Prior to Alibaba, Li held leadership positions at Paypal and eBay.
“Chun is an experienced business leader who can realize Lazada’s vision of unifying commerce with technology to advance Southeast Asia’s digital economy,” said Lucy Peng, chairwoman of Lazada.
Li is set to take over the role of Lazada Group CEO from Pierre Poignant, who will become a special assistant to Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang.
Poignant, who co-founded Lazada in 2012, is credited for building up the e-commerce platform’s robust infrastructure and turning it into one of the most widely used online marketplaces in Southeast Asia. Over the course of the last fiscal year, the platform served more than 70 million unique consumers across six markets in the region. Its growth in Indonesia, in particular, has been especially strong, surging more than 170% year-over-year.
“I am excited about this opportunity to lead Lazada into the next chapter of our journey,” Li said in an email sent shortly after his appointment was announced. “I truly believe that we are well-positioned in Southeast Asia to take advantage of the great opportunities in this evolving digital economy. We can make meaningful contributions to the ecosystem through our technology innovation and logistics infrastructure.”
Li said that Lazada would ramp up its technology investment in Southeast Asia to ensure it maintains its competitive advantage. Another priority he outlined was Lazada’s commitment to fostering local talent. Currently, more than 90% of Lazada’s workforce is made up of local personnel, and Li said he would work to encourage young, homegrown talent to take up leadership positions.
Li added that the momentum for e-commerce in Southeast Asia, coupled with Lazada’s digital innovations and logistics infrastructure, would propel the group even further and allow it to better serve consumers across the region.
“With a customer-first mindset, we will strategize better, work smarter and fight harder,” he said.
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