Alibaba, Thai government in smart deal

China’s Alibaba Group will partner with the Thai government to build a smart digital trading hub in Thailand while also working to develop its capabilities in e-commerce, digital logistics, tourism and training.

Alibaba says it will work with Thailand on everything from boosting efficiencies in trade to educating Thai entrepreneurs and SMEs in digital commerce. The partnership will give Thailand access to technologies and processes that can help advance its economy, while Alibaba gains a stronger foothold in an important market in Southeast Asia, reports Alibaba Group news site Alizila.

Local news media has valued Alibaba’s Thai investment commitments at THB11 billion (US$352 million).

The smart digital hub, in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, will use technologies from Alibaba and its logistics platform Cainiao Network to streamline trade between Thailand and China and other markets, including digitising the customs process.  

At the same time, Alibaba and the Thai government say they will develop educational initiatives for SMEs and entrepreneurs to learn best practices for e-commerce. Included are courses co-developed by Alibaba Business School and Thailand’s Ministries of Industry and Commerce, as well as training centered on the digital economy at Alibaba Business School in Hangzhou.

Under the deal, Thailand also gains greater access to China’s consumer market. Thai products such as fragrant rice, durian and other tropical fruits are in demand in China.

In a related move, a flagship store has been launched on Alibaba’s Tmall platform to sell Thai rice, the country’s main export.

Alibaba’s online travel platform Fliggy is part of the arrangement because of Thailand’s popularity as a destination for Chinese tourists. Fliggy and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will work to develop smart and digital services for those visitors, including online tour guides and electronic ticketing systems.

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