Lazada, an Amazon-like marketplace service in Southeast Asia backed by German incubator Rocket Internet, has officially launched its marketplace-style model on all its websites in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

In a marketplace-based system, the host — which can either be Amazon, Lazada, Rakuten, etc. — is merely the conduit between the merchant selling and the consumer buying, but most customers still view the website as the ultimate one in control of the experience.

Screen shot 2013 08 13 at PM 05.25.44 730x332 Any small business in Southeast Asia can now set up a virtual shop on Amazon like Lazada

Lazada says that the marketplace solution will help smaller firms establish an online presence without having to fork out significant capital to set up a website, and also provides access to Lazada’s community of customers across the region.

The company started developing its marketplace platform in late 2012, after “the number of partnership requests we received made us realize the massive demand,” says Lazada CEO Maximilian Bittner — and it is now officially available for merchants to manage their catalogue and inventory in their virtual shop via a store management tool synchronized with Lazada’s back-end IT system.

In June this year, Lazada announced the closure of a $100 million round of investment — bringing its total investment amount to at least $236 million since it launched in March 2012.

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