BANGKOK: Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has forged a strategic partnership with the government of Thailand that involves the establishment of a smart digital trading hub in the country.

Other measures include plans to boost tourism, training, digital logistics and Thailand’s e-commerce capabilities in an initiative that has the dual purpose of advancing the Thai economy while giving Alibaba a stronger foothold in an important market of Southeast Asia.

Lazada, one of a growing number of e-commerce platforms backed or owned by Alibaba, is already present in Thailand and is very popular.

As reported by Alizila, the new smart digital hub will be located in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, which is an important part of the so-called 'Thailand 4.0' programme that aims to shift the economy away from heavy industry and agriculture towards technology and other innovations.

It will use technologies from Alibaba and its logistics platform, Cainiao Network, to streamline trade between Thailand, China and other markets, including digitising the customs process.

The agreement also involves Alibaba and the Thai government working together to develop educational initiatives for SMEs and entrepreneurs to improve their understanding about e-commerce best practice.

“The strategic cooperation with Alibaba will bring benefits to Thai SMEs and farmers as well as tourism industry, while pushing forward digital economic development in Thailand,” said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Dr Somkid Jatusripitak in a statement.

In addition, Alibaba will promote Thai rice and fruit in China, particularly on its Tmall online marketplace, while its online travel platform, Fliggy, will work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to develop smart digital services for Chinese tourists, who already make up the largest number of visitors to the kingdom.

“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,” said Jack Ma, executive chairman and co-founder of Alibaba.

“Quality Thai agricultural products such as fragrant rice, durian and other tropical fruits in particular are sought after by the Chinese consumer,” he continued.

“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.”

Sourced from Alizila, Alibaba; additional content by WARC staff