Alibaba Group appoints new Lazada CEO in management shakeup

Alibaba Group has appointed James Dong (pictured) as the new CEO of Lazada, effective immediately. According to multiple reports such as Bloomberg and Reuters, the management change comes amid an escalating battle for supremacy in Southeast Asia’s internet arena, with rivals such as Shopee and Tokopedia.

Dong has worked at Lazada for over four years, most recently serving as CEO, Lazada Thailand and Vietnam. Prior to joining Lazada, he was responsible for globalization strategy and corporate development at Alibaba. During this period, Dong also served as a sales assistant to Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, the two sources reported. He was also previously an associate partner at McKinsey.

Dong replaces Chun Li, who was also CEO of Lazada Indonesia, according to his LinkedIn. According to the two sources, Li will serve as an adviser to Lazada Group chairman Jiang Fan and remain on the Lazada board.

Li has worked at Lazada for more than five years and was named CEO in 2020. He first joined the company in 2017 as co-chairman. Prior to joining Lazada, he was CTO of Alibaba Group’s B2B Division, and prior to that, Director of Product Development – Payment Risk at Alibaba.

INTERACTIVE-MARKETING contacted Alibaba for comment.

Separately, Alibaba said in April it planned to bring Lazada to Europe as part of its strategy to drive growth in overseas countries, according to multiple reports, including Reuters. It was reported that Lazada’s expansion plan in Europe was due to Alibaba’s slowing opportunities in China.

That month also saw Lazada launch its LazEarth campaign, as part of the company’s commitment to supporting sustainable practices in the digital commerce ecosystem. The campaign will focus on reducing plastic waste in its products and packaging, given that Southeast Asia generates around 31 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, according to a report by ASEAN which details a regional action plan to address marine debris in ASEAN member states.

Meanwhile, Lazada Thailand was unwittingly drawn into the spotlight last month after a TikTok video for its 5.5 sale by influencer Aniwat Prathumthi enraged royalists. His spokesperson acknowledged and apologized for the “unacceptable error in content created and posted by” the influencer on May 4. He said INTERACTIVE-MARKETING then that it “fully acknowledges that the content was hurtful and humiliating to human dignity”.

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