Retail in Asia

In Markets

Lazada taps rural market for growth in Malaysia

Hans-Peter Ressel, chief executive officer of Ecart Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the company behind the e-commerce group Lazada’s Malaysian operations, agrees with other retailers’ assessment that 2015 was a challenging year for retail.

Even so, Lazada’s sales grew by at least double digits last year, though the group, which turned four on March 27, is still making losses, shared Ressel at a recent media briefing to update Ecart Services’ business performance.

Ressel, who describes Lazada as “basically a rural company with 80% of our customers outside the Klang Valley”, said the focus now is on making its service more accessible to the general masses, particularly to those in east Malaysia.

It will start with improving its logistics and distribution centres in east Malaysia, said Ressel, where the company saw an 80% sales growth last year.

Though the growth was impressive, Ressel revealed that the net merchandise value growth in its east Malaysia segment last year was actually lower than in other regions, which saw a minimal 110% year-on-year growth.