Liu makes history at Lazada
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Liu makes history at Lazada

Confidence in e-commerce growth is the key to success, says business pioneer

Ms Liu said ability to adapt to change and helping others are always guiding principles for her.
Ms Liu said ability to adapt to change and helping others are always guiding principles for her.

Jessica Liu was made chief executive of Lazada Thailand in January 2021, becoming the firm's first female country CEO. She still maintains the positions of president of Lazada Group and head of LazMall, where sellers operate their online shops.

Last year, Ms Liu was featured in the inaugural Singapore 100 Women in Tech (SGWIT) list, recognised as one of the pioneers in e-commerce and a contributor to the tech sector.

From 2012 to 2019, she was general manager of Tmall Fashion and Luxury at Alibaba Group. Tmall serves as business-to-consumer online retail platform.

Under her leadership, Tmall became the biggest fashion B2C online platform in China and the destination of choice for global fashion houses.

In 2018, she founded the Tmall Luxury Pavilion, a leading platform for luxury and premium goods, and the Alibaba Luxury Goods Logistics Centre, where over 200 luxury brands digitalised their operations with Tmall.

She also curated the inaugural "China Day" programme for New York Fashion Week, which subsequently expanded to Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Before joining Alibaba Group in 2012, Ms Liu held management roles in a variety of divisions across Amazon China between 2005 and 2012.

As she was made chief executive of Lazada Thailand early this year, she said her priorities now are to ensure the company continues to "deliver best-in-class services and top-notch offerings to our customers".

In all positions she has held, she said her mind-set will always be customer-first.

"Having such a north star has helped me in my past roles, when I led Tmall to become China's largest fashion B2C online platform and founded Tmall's Luxury Pavillion for luxury and premium goods to go online," she said.

According to her, Thailand's e-commerce industry is now at 294 billion baht, up 81% from 2019. The segment's exponential growth is likely to continue to accelerate this year, she said.

"As Lazada is backed by Alibaba's ecosystem, I can use my experiences at Alibaba to bring best practices and key learnings to grow Lazada Thailand," said Ms Liu.

"One of Alibaba Group core values is 'Customers first, Employees second, Stakeholders third' -- it is the top priority shared across Alibaba and Lazada."

She said once Lazada is committed to building a sustainable infrastructure in technology and logistics as well as partnerships in the ecosystem, this would help brands and sellers to grow all along, which in turn would be a boon for Lazada platform that can offer a wider range of products, assortments and options for customers.

Referring to her motto and principle of management, Ms Liu said: "The ability to adapt to change, as well as to help others to do the same, has always been a guiding principle for me -- whether it's for our brands, sellers or staff."

She also highlighted the importance of trust.

"I would say 'change is the only constant' and 'trust makes things simple' are two of the company's values that have been my mottos all along," she said.

According to Ms Liu, women make up 40% of Lazada's employees and the company's executive chairwoman Lucy Peng serves as a role model for many staff.

She said more than a third of her colleagues on the senior management team are females and the company has introduced a string of initiatives to support career development of young female talents.

"As a wife and mother, I can relate to the challenges that many working women have in having to balance work life with home life," she said.

"I have been very fortunate to work for companies such as Alibaba and Lazada, which have inclusive and supportive workplace cultures that embrace diversity."

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