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Thailand signs up for eCommerce initiatives

High-level witnesses attended the signing of a letter of intent in China that will see Thailand co-operate with Alibaba on eCommerce initiatives.

Thailand’s deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak was invited by the eCommerce giant to its headquarters in Hangzhou to witness the signing alongside Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma.

Initiatives covered by the agreement include training for SMEs and individuals, and exploring ways to enhance logistics capabilities to support digital economy strategies as well as the government’s new Thailand 4.0 economic model, aimed at steering the country toward a value-based economy.

Other senior Thai government officials also attended the signing along with private-sector representatives. Thailand’s permanent secretary Wiboonlasana Ruamraksathe and Alibaba Group president Michael Evans signed the documents.

“This visit to Alibaba represents a continuation of the bilateral talks between the prime minister and Jack Ma,” says Somkid Jatusripitak. “To strengthen the competitiveness of Thailand’s SMEs and help them succeed in an increasingly digital era, the prime minister earlier assigned responsibilities to a task force made up of government agencies and private enterprises to work with Alibaba in a joint effort to lift the export capabilities of Thai businesses, starting from the grassroots and community level and extending to mid-tier businesses.”

“We are very honoured to have this opportunity to work with the Thai government,” Ma said at the signing ceremony, “and I would like to thank the Thai people for their trust, because trust is the basis of any successful partnership.”

Long-term vision

He said that since Alibaba was founded 17 years ago, its vision had always been about empowering small businesses and young people, particularly those in developing nations.

“We want to partner with governments and organisations that share this vision and commitment. By working together and applying technology and innovative ideas, I believe we can make that vision a reality, and magic will happen.”

Four key areas are covered by the Thailand agreement, the first involving eCommerce training for 30,000 Thai SMEs to help them access both domestic and international platforms. Alibaba and its majority-owned eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia, Lazada Group, will help provide the training.

The group will also share its experience and expertise with the Thai government to help build the nation’s own national eCommerce platform.

Secondly, Thailand and Alibaba will collaborate on creating a nationwide program to train around 10,000 individuals so they can be proficient in digital technology. The two sides will also work on nurturing software developers, who will be given access to the China market via Alibaba Cloud’s marketplace for the software apps they create.

Training for officials

Furthermore, senior government officials will receive training at the Thailand Digital Government Academy, initially on big data and AI technologies. Alibaba and Lazada will jointly run a train-the-trainer program to groom eCommerce business co-ordinators who will in turn help SMEs establish their own online export capabilities.

Thirdly, Alibaba and Lazada will contribute to the development of the Thailand’s supply-chain and logistics systems by sharing their experience and expertise with Thailand Post in a bid to expand domestic delivery services to all provinces. Thailand Post will also study Alibaba’s inventory-management systems and international eCommerce fulfillment services to gain insight into the establishment of bonded warehouses and fulfillment centres.

Finally, Alibaba and the Thai government will explore co-operation opportunities under the Eastern Economic Corridor Development (EECD) project with the aim of helping establish Thailand as a hub of digital technology and regional data centres in Southeast Asia.

Various Thai agencies lead the taskforce in charge of building upon the bilateral talks, including the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Ministry of Science and Technology, the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand, the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, the Electronic Government Agency (a public organisation), and Thailand Post.

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