Alibaba’s Lazada hires Ant Group veteran to head up payments

Alibaba’s Lazada hires Ant Group veteran to head up payments
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(Sept 17): Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Lazada Group is creating a new role to lead payments in Southeast Asia for the first time, and tapped a former Alipay executive for the position.

Dayong Zhang, former general manager of Southeast Asia for Ant Group Co’s Alipay, will become Lazada’s head of payments, the company said, confirming a report by Bloomberg News earlier on Friday. The move underscores the e-commerce company’s effort to generate growth from the business.

Lazada is seeking to take on Southeast Asian internet rivals such as Grab Holdings Inc and Sea Ltd, which have been aggressively pushing their payment products. The region’s payments market is expanding rapidly on the back of rising demand for online shopping.

“With his payments background and experience, he will be able to lead Lazada into the next chapter of its growth and further strengthen our competitive advantage through payments technology,” Lazada said in a written response to questions from Bloomberg.

James Chang, Lazada’s Singapore chief executive officer, will take on a broader regional role, becoming the group’s chief business officer. Wee Lee Loh, head of Lazada Group CEO’s office, will replace Chang as the Singapore chief. He joined the company in 2018. 

Zhang, a graduate of Tsinghua University with a degree in computer software, joined Alipay in 2008 and served as general manager of the Southeast Asia region, according to his LinkedIn profile. Chang was appointed Lazada Singapore CEO in 2019, after joining as co-founder and managing director of Lazada Philippines in 2012, according to his LinkedIn page.

Since Chun Li took the helm of Lazada about a year ago, the company has been investing in technology and focusing on localisation to cater to different consumer tastes across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Lazada recorded more than 90% order growth during the quarter ended in June, and has about 150 million monthly average users.