Alibaba announces digital free-trade initiative in Malaysia
Wed 22 Mar 2017
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced plans to establish a regional distribution hub in Malaysia – the company’s first logistics centre outside of China.
The new cross-border agreement with the Malaysian government hopes to facilitate international e-commerce transactions and support South-east Asian growth in the sector.
According to Alizila, the official news hub for Alibaba Group, the initiative will involve the Chinese firm working alongside the digital agency Malaysia Digital Economy, to set up ‘digital free-trade zones where small and medium-sized enterprises can easily plug into global trade via e-commerce.’
Referring to the project as part of its electronic world trade platform (eWTP), Alibaba plans to establish an e-fulfilment hub near to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, as well as a digital trade platform with links to its existing Chinese digital zone in Hangzhou.
Malaysia Airport Holdings and the country’s two largest banks, CIMB and Maybank, have already signed agreements to participate in the eWTP roll-out. The two financial groups are expected to evaluate opportunities to develop e-payment and financing systems, with an initial focus on financial support for B2B cross-border trade and tourism from China.
Alibaba Cloud will also be creating a platform dedicated to Malaysian SMEs, offering a range of cloud-enabled solutions from big data tools to Internet of Things capabilities.
In a statement, Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma said: ‘The first e-hub under the eWTP outside of China will go a long way towards making global trade more inclusive and provide much-needed support to a hugely important constituent: SMEs and the younger generation…’
Further to the digital trading hub commitments, Alibaba will also be launching a series of training initiatives to support local startups and the development of skills to help boost Malaysian digital economy efforts.
An Alibaba spokesperson added that the company would soon be announcing an additional digital trading network in another foreign country.