On the 19th April 2018, the duo held a ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, to celebrate its collaboration to drive the development of Thailand's digital economy and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) under the Thailand 4.0 policy.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr Somkid Jatusripitak; China's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Thailand, Lyu Jian; and the Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, attended the opening ceremony.
Through this partnership, Thai government agencies and Alibaba business units will collaborate closely together in a number of areas to pursue key strategic growth areas in Thailand namely, e-commerce, digital logistics, tourism and training.
In 2016, the duo signed a Letter of Intent to strengthen the partnership between Alibaba Group and the Thai Government. This initial agreement has now led to numerous joint efforts to help enable Thai entrepreneurs to get access to new markets and utilise digital innovations.
4.0 industry policy initiative
"Confident in the promising outlook of the Thai economy, the Thailand 4.0 policy initiative, and the high potential of the EEC development, Alibaba has decided to invest in a Smart Digital Hub in the EEC area,” Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister, Thailand.
Reflecting on the benefits that this policy initiative is set to provide, Jatusripitak went on to say: “The Smart Digital Hub will be an important platform to link Thai SME and OTOP (One Tambon One Product) products and agricultural products to, not only China but also global markets. The strategic cooperation with Alibaba will bring benefits to Thai SMEs and farmers as well as the tourism industry while pushing forward digital economic development in Thailand.”
Discussing the potential of China in the global economic climate, Jack Ma, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, relayed: "China is on its way to becoming the world's largest consumer, driven by rising income and a growing middle class of 300 million. There is no better time than now for trade-oriented countries to seize this opportunity to export to China as the country continues to open its doors wider for global trade.”
“Quality Thai agricultural products such as fragrant rice, durian and other tropical fruits, in particular, are sought after by the Chinese consumer," said Jack Ma, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group. "Given Thailand's unique strengths in people and culture, we are confident of its future and growth potential under the government's Thailand 4.0 policy,” explained Ma.
“We are committed to being a long-term partner of Thailand to help enable its digital transformation,” concluded Ma.
There are several initiatives that together, Alibaba and the Thai government will invest in to boost the economic climate:
The creation of a Smart Digital Hub in the EEC
The smart digital hub, which will be an open platform, is expected to launch in 2018, with operations scheduled in 2019. As part of Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor ("EEC"), which covers three eastern provinces of Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Rayong, Alibaba-owned Cainiao Network will apply its smart digital logistics business to set up its Smart Digital Hub in the EEC.
It will use Alibaba and Cainiao's data and logistics technologies and processes to optimise the cross-border flow of goods between Thailand, China, and other markets. Cainiao will partner with EEC Office and Thai Customs to encourage the digitisation of customs processes through big data, artificial intelligence and sharing of global best practices.
Support SMEs by providing e-commerce skills
Alibaba Group plans to connect Thai SMEs to Alibaba's 500 million active users in the Chinese e-commerce market, along with other global e-commerce opportunities. This comes following the partnership between the Thai Ministry of Industry's Department of Industrial Promotion ("DIP"), the Thai Ministry of Commerce's Department of International Trade Promotion ("DITP") and Alibaba Business School - an accredited university founded by Alibaba Group and Hangzhou Normal University.
Under this training collaboration, SMEs all across Thailand will be able to gain e-commerce knowledge and skills to start e-business and leverage the internet to develop their business online.
Offer training in digital talent
To foster growth in the digital economy era, Alibaba Business School will work with DIP and DITP to enhance effective strategies for talent development in Thailand. It will also offer both academics and students the opportunity to partake in courses and exchanges by Alibaba Business School in Hangzhou, China.
Cooperate in digital and smart tourism
The Tourism Authority of Thailand ("TAT"), Alibaba's online travel business and one of China's leading online travel service providers, Fliggy, will also advance to look after smart and digital tourism in Thailand.
As an Official Strategic Partner of TAT, Fliggy will provide smart technological experiences ranging from online tour guides to electronic ticketing systems. Both Fliggy and Ant Financial, Alibaba Group's affiliate and operator of Alipay, are in active discussions with various related government agencies to drive a holistic digital transformation. This will include pre-departure visa and visa-on-arrival application and payment to post-travel digital service with tourist tax refund via Alipay system.